Environmental health researchers released alarming evidence  today that toxic brominated flame retardants, hazardous chemicals from electronic waste that are known to disrupt thyroid function and cause neurological and attention deficits in children, are contaminating recycled plastics in consumer products across Europe.
The report release coincides with a crucial vote in the European Parliament to establish and re-evaluate recycling exemptions for POPs (Persistent Organic Pollutants) in waste and with the European Commission’s revision of POPs waste limits. Both decisions will determine whether toxic waste materials, such as e-waste containing brominated flame retardants, will be allowed in recycled plastics.
(Göteborg, Sweden): Public protections in Europe against the world’s worst chemicals will be decided in an upcoming vote on 10 October 2018. At issue is the regulation that implements the Stockholm Convention – a treaty that lists 28 substances for global elimination. Earlier this year, the European Commission proposed substantial changes to the regulation, including 56 amendments proposed by Members of the European Parliament. Public interest organizations from 150 countries have raised concerns about the proposed revisions, which would increase hazardous chemical contamination in consumer products, allow production and use of substances banned globally, and even weaken the EU´s ability to nominate new substances to the Convention.
(Rome, Italy) Faced with rampant drinking water pollution around the world from toxic fluorinated chemicals, a UN expert committee recommended a global ban on PFOA / PFOS. The committee recommended strict restrictions for their use in firefighting foams – a major source of water pollution around the world. At issue are two toxic fluorinated chemicals that have been used in firefighting foams; perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).
The most recent IPEN Global Newsletter, presenting information from January - July, 2018, focuses on electronics and chemicals. The newsletter opens with a message from IPEN's Senior Science and Technical Advisor, who reminds us that electronics production is chemically intensive, using more than a thousand chemicals and other materials (many of which are hazardous). This causes harm to workers and communities in production, exposes consumers to toxic chemicals during use, and releases toxics chemcials when products become e-waste or when plastics used in electronics are recycled into new products.
IPEN Regional Hub Eco-Accord, in cooperation with the Independent Ecological Expertise, an IPEN Participating Organization in Kyrgyzstan, successfully organized and hosted the EECCA regional workshop in Kyrgyzstan from August 26-29. The meeting was held in one of the most beautiful places, Lake Issyk-Kul, located in the Tian Shan Mountains. It is the second largest saline lake in the world, warm enough to swim in.
The team of 24 NGO representatives from countries in the EECCA region worked hard to strengthen and adopt a revised Regional NGO Strategy for the current period until 2030, with its intermediate assessment in 2020.
The programme of the meeting was quite comprehensive, but the team allocated enough time for a fruitful discussion, communicating many different perspectives and expertise on a range of topics.
(Göteborg, Sweden): PFOA, the “Teflon chemical,” the cause of vast contamination of ground and drinking water around the world, is a persistent pollutant and suspected carcinogen. PFOA was nominated in 2015 for a global ban under the UN Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. An upcoming UN expert group meeting will make recommendations to governments about adding PFOA to the treaty, including possible loopholes that would continue production and use. Experts across diverse fields, including business, fire safety regulation, airport authorities, environmental science and medical device suppliers, strongly condemn proposed exemptions, arguing there is no justification for continued use when viable alternatives exist.