IPEN, Arnika and 16 European NGOs call on leaders to lower threshold values for POPs in waste, which enter recycling and waste exports
Wednesday, 22 December 2021
The problem: the European Commission currently proposes industry friendly ‘middle-ground’ POP limits for waste based on economic criteria instead of strong and health-protective values.
The European Commission (EC) is proposing to adopt new limit values for persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in waste. The Stockholm Convention requires the destruction of wastes that exceed POPs limit values (known as Low POP Content Levels set by the Basel Convention) and bans the recycling of wastes contaminated with POPs to maintain toxic-free material cycles. However, the EC is proposing weak POP limits, which will allow plastic and other wastes contaminated with POPs to be, in practice, recycled by industry in the EU. The transition to high-quality and toxic-free material cycles cannot be achieved while allowing POPs recycling in materials.
IPEN, Arnika, and 16 NGOs urge in their letter to Members of the European Parliament and Member States to support stronger limit values for POPs in waste than what the EC proposes. The weak limits currently proposed by the EC undermine the Stockholm Convention and will lead to POPs recycling that is incompatible with the European Green Deal.
Gothenburg, Sweden Plastics pose significant threats to human health and ecosystems throughout their life cycles, according to two new studies by the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN). To get a global picture of the role plastics play in transporting toxic chemicals around the world, IPEN worked with International Pellet Watch (IPW) and its NGO partners in 35 countries to investigate hazardous chemicals and pollutants present in:
spilled or lost pre-production plastic pellets found on beaches; and
recycled plastic pellets purchased from recycling facilities.
Both studies reveal the presence of toxic chemical additives and pollutants that pose multiple health threats to humans and the environment. The health effects include causing cancer or changing hormone activity (known as endocrine disruption), which can lead to reproductive, growth, and cognitive impairment. Many of the toxic chemical additives have several other known health impacts, persist in the environment, and bioaccumulate in exposed organisms.
IPEN science and technical advisor, and lead author of the beach pellet study, Dr. Therese Karlsson says: “These new studies further support our recommendation that international action to create more sustainable uses of plastics needs to look beyond waste to address harm and damage related to the toxic chemical additives in plastics.”
Over 180,000 petitioners around the globe urge UN to support people's health not industry's wealth
Friday, 03 December 2021
Gothenburg, Sweden Today, civil society and indigenous peoples organizations delivered more than 187,300 petition signatures from over 107 countries to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General Qu Dongyu, demanding that the FAO end its partnership with CropLife International, an international lobbying association for the world’s largest agrochemical companies.
Texcoco, México Around the world, pesticides sprayed from planes come with harmful side effects. The aerial drift falls on nearby fields, and impacts nearby communities.
In early November 2021, IPEN's regional hub in Latin America and the Caribbean hosted a webinar on the subject, featuring speakers from Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, and the European Union discussing their fights to prohibit or restrict aerial spraying.
Plastic production, use, and end-of-life management threaten the environment and human health with toxic chemicals exposures. Protecting women, children, and communities in low- and middle-income countries that are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of plastics is a priority. IPEN recognizes the need for a new global treaty addressing plastics and associated chemicals, which must include new and additional sustainable financial resources and complement existing international conventions and frameworks. The negotiations should recognize the importance of not diverting resources from commitments on legacy chemical pollution such as PCB stockpile management and POPs waste trade restrictions in favour of a new treaty.
A new legally binding global treaty must hold polluters legally and financially accountable, provide remedies to affected communities, and mitigate the toxic impacts plastics and their toxic additives have on the enjoyment of human rights throughout their life cycle, particularly on communities that are the least responsible for plastic production. The projected increased production of chemicals and plastics hamper the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Negotiating the treaty requires the meaningful open, transparent, and inclusive participation of civil society and the communities most affected by plastics’ harmful impacts.
Overarching goal: Eliminate the toxic impact of plastics throughout their life cycle – production, use, and disposal.
Six IPEN Participating Organizations (POs) in South and Southeast Asia conducted new analytical studies on solvent-based paints, including industrial paints, that are sold in the local market. The studies show that lead paints are still manufactured and/or sold in countries where lead paint laws exist such as in Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Philippines, and Vietnam, and moreso in Indonesia which has yet to adopt a legally binding lead paint law. The results, released during the International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, justify the POs’ continuing campaign to ban the manufacture, import, export, distribution, sale, and use of all lead-containing paints to protect human health and the environment.
In 2002, the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development called for the phase-out of lead-based paints.
In 2009, the International Conference on Chemicals Management asked UNEP and WHO to establish a global partnership to promote phasing out lead in paint.
The United Nations Environmental Assembly and the World Health Assembly both have called upon governments to establish national controls on lead in paints.
In this same time period, we have achieved the global phase-out of leaded automobile fuels—a goal announced in 2002 at the same Johannesburg World Summit that called for the global phase-out of lead paints.
Why, after nearly 20 years, have we not eliminated lead paint globally?