In 2015, the EU nominated PFOA for listing in the Stockholm Convention and agreed to lead the evaluation drafting process. However, instead of carrying out the work in-house, the EU hired an industry consultancy (BiPRO). This resulted in proposals for a sweeping set of loopholes that undermine a global ban. BiPRO’s client list includes companies that make and/or use fluorinated chemicals, including PFOA.
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.