On September 28th and 29th, IPEN Participating Organizations from the Eastern Europe, Caucasus, and Central Asia (EECCA) region met in Erevan, Armenia. At the meeting, IPEN POs in EECCA discussed IPEN's current and future projects, campaigns and initiatives, as well as the role IPEN EECCA POs will play in these activities. IPEN new initiatives, including Women and Chemicals, Gender Strategy, Women’s Caucus, Ocean Pollution, and Chemicals in Products were on the agenda of the meeting and aroused great interest. Three presentations on gender and endocrine disrupting chemicals, POPs in breast milk and monitoring of heavy metals in food linked the work of NGOs with that of the EECCA scientific community.
Erik Solheim, the UN Environment Executive Director, stopped by IPEN's "Mercury Salon" at the COP1 to get a hair sample taken to be tested for mercury. IPEN had invited all COP1 attendees to come by the IPEN booth to get their hair tested, and to date, 160 meeting participants have given a sample. The samples taken during the meeting will be sent to Biodiversity Research Institute's laboratories for mercury analysis. Results will be complied and reported on at UNEA3.
Following the hair sampling, Mr. Solheim met with Minamata Activist and fetal Minamata disease patient Ms. Shinobu Sakamoto. They had a brief discussion and Ms. Sakamoto reiterated her message of "No More Minmatas."
Geneva Switzerland : IPEN, a global network of health and environmental NGOs, have brought together a mercury poisoning survivor from Minamata, Japan with researchers who have just exposed alarming levels of mercury in women of child-bearing age across the globe. Testimony was heard from Ms. Shinobu Sakamoto, who sustained significant neurological damage from in-utero mercury poisoning when her mother, like thousands harmed or killed by industrial mercury in Minamata Bay, consumed mercury-contaminated fish. Ms. Sakamoto called on government delegates to the Minamata Convention to take strong action to bring an end to global mercury poisoning and ensure there are no more Minamatas. Specifically, Convention delegates must end the global trade in mercury that is feeding small scale gold mining, drive down coal-fired power emissions and clean up contaminated sites.
Amongst other activities, IPEN will conduct hair testing for mercury content at the COP1. All delegates are invited to come by the IPEN booth in Geneva to get their hair tested for mercury. Hair samples will be sent to Biodiversity Research Institute's laboratories for mercury analysis. Results will be complied and reported on at UNEA3.
EcoWaste Coalition and Laban Konsyumer, Inc. Joint Press Release
Government Urged to Go After Importers, Distributors and Retailers of Toxic Cosmetics
Quezon City: Chemical safety and consumer protection groups today revealed the unabashed trade of mercury-containing skin whitening products despite being illegal to import, distribute and sell.
The EcoWaste Coalition and Laban Konsyumer, Inc. made the exposé ahead of the first Conference of Parties (COP1) to the Minamata Convention on Mercury on September 24 to 29 in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Minamata Convention, an international treaty, aims “to protect the human health and the environment from anthropogenic releases of mercury and mercury compounds.” Among other things, it targets the phase-out of skin lightening products with mercury above one part per million (ppm).
(Göteborg, Sweden) Mercury, a neurotoxic metal, has been found in high levels across all global regions in women of reproductive age, according to a new study conducted by IPEN (a global public health & environment network) and Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI). Women in the Pacific Islands and in communities near gold mining sites in Indonesia, Kenya, and Myanmar were found to have average mercury levels many times higher than US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) health advisory levels.
The research, Mercury in Women of Childbearing Age in 25 Countries, was undertaken to measure the prevalence of mercury body burden at levels that can cause neurological and organ damage. Mercury in a mother’s body can be transferred to her fetus during pregnancy, exposing the developing fetus to the potent neurotoxin. The study is the first of its kind to sample as many countries and regions and spotlight women of childbearing age.