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A Toxics-Free Future

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Highlights Front Roll

Understanding the Connection between COVID-19 and Chemicals
Report Highlights Threats of Toxic Additives in Plastic
Holding Producers Responsible: Financing the Sound Management of Chemicals
Australia plastics waste ban highjacked by incineration proposals
IPEN Leader Speaks Against US Dumping Plastics and Chemicals in Africa
Study Reveals High Levels of Lead in Spray Paints
New Study Proves Dioxins in Plastic Toys Harm Children

After LG’s toxic release of styrene vapor into a nearby residential area killing and injuring people, the Andhra Pradesh State Government convened a High Power Committee (HPC) to investigate the tragedy.

Two months later, the HPC delivered a 4,000-page report sharply critical of LG’s management. The government investigation demonstrated LG’s disregard for safety, raised the possibility of a double standard in LG operations in South Korea and India and revealed significant environmental pollution caused by LG’s massive styrene release.

Read IPEN’s summary analysis of the HPC reportTimeline of the LG Tragedy

Key findings of the report include the following:

Move leaves door open to pushing toxics to poorer communities

In response to last week's European Commision announcement that it will allow trade of problematic plastic waste within the EU, IPEN and many other global and European environmental groups have lined up to voice their opposition. Amendments last year to the Basel Convention enhanced restrictions on global trade in waste, helping smaller nations or countries without the capacity to handle that waste reject it. These amendments were passed in response to countless human rights abuses, and environmental pollution caused by unregulated plastic waste dumping. Such problematic plastic wastes now will require prior consent by importing nations. However, the Commision's ruling leaves the door open for waste traders to shunt difficult-to-recycle plastics to substandard operations in poorer EU communities, as well as plastic waste to "waste-to-energy" incinerators in other EU countries.

In its press release, the groups claim that the move undermines both the EU's commitments to carbon neutrality and a circular economy, as well as its global leadership on plastic waste.

"How does bending current EU rules and creating double standards for the EU demonstrate any kind of global leadership?" asked Jim Puckett of the Basel Action Network, a global toxic trade watchdog organization. "How is the rest of the world going to take the EU seriously when they preach boldly on the global stage and then run back home to coddle their waste and plastics industries?"

Study of plastic pollution of the recreational zone of the Kharkov River

In this newsletter (in Russian / на русском) from the Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asian (EECCA) region, IPEN Participating Organizations from Armenia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Moldova, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan shared results of their recent work. Results presented relate to issues such as the production and use of highly hazardous pesticides, waste incineration, the disposal of obsolete pesticides, and environmental pollution from plastic. The work of these organizations and others contributes to the implementation of the regional EECCA NGO Strategy for Chemical Safety for the period up to 2030.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) is the government legal body with expertise and jurisdiction over environmental matters. After LG's toxic release of styrene gas into a nearby residential area killing and injuring people, NGT convened an investigative committee.

Read IPEN’s summary and analysis of the NGT report | Timeline of the LG Tragedy

The NGT investigative committee delivered a critical final report on 28 May 2020 which concluded that LG’s “gross human failure” and the company’s lack of basic safety equipment and procedures caused the tragedy. The committee noted that, “The root cause thus appears to be the lack of experience of LG Polymers India and their Korean principal, LG Chem, in monitoring and maintaining full tanks of styrene that were idled for a long period of several weeks without operation.”

Key findings of the report include the following:

Groups Also Call for a National Phase Out and An Agro-Ecological Transition of the Food System in Mexico

More than 180 non-governmental organizations, social groups and academics from different universities sent a letter to the federal authorities to maintain the ban on imports of glyphosate by the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat) and move forward for a national phase out of all uses.

A man carrying an unconscious child runs for help during the evacuation. (CNN)

Absolute liability should be applied in deaths and injuries at its plastics factory in India

Polystyrene plastic is familiar to consumers in the form of coffee cups and take-out food containers. However, many people do not realize that the building block of this common plastic – styrene – is a probable human carcinogen with a variety of toxic effects. The recent LG tragedy in India demonstrates the toxicity of polystyrene production on community residents. The parent company and its Indian subsidiary should be held fully accountable and absolute liability should be applied.

Study Finds Toys Made of Black Recycled Plastics Pose Serious Threat to Children’s Health

PRESS RELEASE

(Gothenburg, Sweden): A ground-breaking study analyzing the effects of toxic chemicals in plastic children’s toys and consumer products on human cells demonstrates that toys made from some recycled plastics are toxic to humans and can significantly contribute to the dioxin daily intake level for children who mouth their toys. The levels of toxic chemicals revealed in all the samples studied were comparable to levels found in hazardous wastes, such as the ash from waste incinerators.

A team of researchers from Arnika, BioDetection Systems, and International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) determined that toys made of black plastic, which is often derived from recycled e-waste plastics with flame retardant chemicals, are toxic to human cells. The study reveals that children mouthing toys made from this plastic are at risk of dangerous health effects from the toxic material. It is the first study to establish the toxic effects of plastic toys made of recycled plastics on human cells.

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