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A Toxics-Free Future


Highlights Front Roll

IPEN Resources for the Plastics Treaty INC-1
New Video: Plastics Poisoning Our Health
How the UNEA Plastics Resolutions Relates to Chemicals and Health
Plastic Poisons the Circular Economy
Plastics, Plastic Waste, and Chemicals in Africa
Plastics, EDCs & Health Report Links Chemical Additives and Health Effects

Bali, Indonesia/Bangkok, Thailand/Manila, Philippines Experts from various fields and institutions cited the tremendous potentials of citizen science for advancing public participation in research efforts that can generate data, which can increase the negotiation power of communities facing chemical and waste pollution.

At the end last week of the four-part IPEN Southeast and East Asia Virtual Conference, resource persons from Norway, Indonesia and the Philippines and participants from 12 countries discussed perspectives and experiences on citizen science for generating data and for pursuing policies and measures to promote and protect public health and the environment.

Held amid mobility restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the online conference series was co-organized by the Ecological Alert and Recovery-Thailand, Nexus3 Foundation-Indonesia and EcoWaste Coalition-Philippines with support from the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and IPEN.

In response to stated plans by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to strengthen ties with a trade association whose members continue to produce highly hazardous pesticides harmful to human health and the enviroment, IPEN and over three hundred other organizations in over 60 countries have sent a letter to Director-General Qu Dongyu opposing the alliance. The proposed collaboration with CropLife — whose members include BASF, Bayer Crop Science, Corteva Agriscience, FMC and Syngenta, and who combined make more than one-third of their sales income from highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs) — directly undermines the FAO's priority of a progressive ban on HHPs, as well as its role as a global leader supporting innovative approaches to agricultural production and advancing food security, sustainability, and resilience.

The letter notes that CropLife members specifically target markets in developing and emerging countries where the regulation and commercialization of pesticides are more weakly controlled, and that sales of HHPs are greater in these parts of the world where harms to human health and the environment are worse. Farmers, agricultural workers, and those living in rural communities suffer increased rates of a broad array of health harms, and decimation of beneficial insects and other organisms have been linked to HHPs.

The participation of non-professional scientists in scientific research or monitoring efforts can empower grassroots organizations and movements into advancing a sustainable and toxics-free future for all.

Citizen science, as it is generally called, has become a strategic tool enabling communities impacted by chemical and waste problems to empower themselves with data and information that can be used to assert their rights to a healthy and safe environment. A four-part online regional conference commencing today will put a spotlight on the application of citizen science in addressing such problems affecting mostly poor and marginalized communities, with children, pregnant women and workers at greater risk. It will bring together over 70 citizen science advocates, practitioners and learners from 11 countries.

The International Pollutants Elimination Network - Southeast and East Asia (IPEN-SEA) Virtual Conference that is taking place amid the COVID-19 pandemic is co-organized by Nexus3 Foundation-Indonesia, EcoWaste Coalition-Philippines and the Ecological Alert and Recovery- Thailand with support from the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and IPEN. “Through the years, citizen science has developed into a practical and potent tool for helpless victims who often suffer in silence from the destructive pollution caused by powerful commercial and industrial interests,” noted Penchom Saetang, Executive Director of EARTH and a citizen science practitioner for over 20 years.

Gothenburg, Sweden A new report from IPEN, with data on lead in paint from almost 60 countries, shows that in 25 out of 27 countries that adopted protective legal limits on lead in paint since 2008, the work of non-governmental organizations was key in moving forward standards, regulation, and enforcement. Countries without enforced regulations in place still had lead paint available on the market, posing health risks to children and other vulnerable groups.

A survey from the World Health Organization shows that lead paint is still not regulated in a majority of countries, despite a global goal to phase out these paints by the year 2020. As of 31 May 2020, only 39% of countries had confirmed that they have legally binding controls on lead paint. In addition, many of these regulations are not protective enough since they include exemptions, lax limits, or are not enforced.

During the eighth annual International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action, beginning October 25, 2020, activities by NGOs in 36 countries will celebrate success and highlight urgent needs for additional action.

IPEN participating organizations in 36 countries are taking part in the 8th edition of the International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week on October 25 to 31. This year’s campaign focuses on the need to hasten progress toward the global goal of phasing out lead paint through regulatory and legal measures. The Week of Action is spearheaded by the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint, which is jointly led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) and which counts on IPEN and many of its POs from developing countries among its partners. What follows is a brief summary of our POs’ planned activities for the week-long campaign to raise awareness about the hazards and risks of lead, especially on the health of children and other vulnerable groups, and to mobilize stakeholders’ support for the enactment of strong lead paint laws and their effective enforcement.

New report highlights issues and solutions with chemicals in plastics

Although plastics pollution is getting more of the attention it has long deserved, often lost in the discussion are the toxic additives that contaminate plastic products, leach into food webs and the environment, and persist in recycling streams. Without addressing the harms created by these toxic additives, the prospect of achieving a safe circular economy is greatly hindered.

Plastic’s Toxic Additives and the Circular Economy, a new report developed in collaboration with multiple UN convention groups, technical experts, and organizations working to address pollution, discusses the key challenges society faces to eliminate toxic components in the plastics life-cycle, identifies chemicals and sectors of greatest concern, and outlines key approaches for tackling the issues.

Read the original press release from the Network for a Carcinogen-Free Society and IPEN in Korean

This is a press release from the Network for a Carcinogen-Free Society and IPEN. The Network for a Carcinogen-Free Society includes the following groups: Citizens' Action to Create Gunsan without Carcinogens; Civil Action to Create Ulsan without Carcinogens; Coalition of Health and Medical Organizations to Realize the Right to Health; Pharmaceutical Society for a Healthy Society; Dental Society for a Healthy Society; Labor Health Alliance; Humanitarian Practitioner Council; Young Korean Medical Association for the Realization of True Medicine; Green Alliance; Child Health National Solidarity; iCOOP Seoul Council; Korean Women's Environmental Network; Wonjin Foundation; Environment Health Research Institute; National Metal Workers' Union; Korean Confederation of Trade Unions; National Parents' Association for True Education; Green Education Solidarity; Blue Gwangmyeong 21 Action Council; Environmental Movement Alliance; and Environmental Justice.

On September 25, 2020, the Seoul Metropolitan Government announced that it would sign a “multilateral agreement on the use of lead-reducing paint that complies with international standards”. The main focus is to use products with excellent safety and low lead content below the recommended level of the World Health Organization (WHO) in city-managed facilities and public places. The agreement includes five paint manufacturers, the Korea Paint Ink Industry Cooperative, Seoul Facilities Corporation, SH Corporation, and the Green Seoul Citizens' Committee. This is a valuable fruit of civil society organizations that have been working for a safe environment for children from harmful substances, paint manufacturers that manufacture safe products, and Seoul's efforts to make Seoul safe from harmful substances.

According to the Seoul Metropolitan Government, through this agreement, less than 0.009% (90ppm) lead in the interior and exterior of public facilities managed by the Seoul Facilities Corporation and public housing sold, rented, and managed by the Seoul Housing and Urban Corporation (SH) comply with international standards. Only paints containing this will be used.


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