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A Toxics-Free Future

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Plastics

Results of a second investigation on the contents of phthalic plasticizers in the yellow rubber ducky

By: Toxics Free Corps, China

Report in Chinese: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/VU1uMImC6ABmZ8wr3szlKA

The American Chemistry Council, the lobbying group representing the largest fossil fuel and petrochemical companies on earth, is working behind the scenes “to influence United States trade negotiations with Kenya” aiming to dump the world’s growing colossus of plastic and chemicals waste in Africa, according to reports from the New York Times ("Big Oil Is in Trouble. Its Plan: Flood Africa with Plastic" 30 Aug 2020) and the Associated Press ("Oil companies accused of wanting to dump plastics in Africa." 1 Sept 2020).

IPEN Steering Committee member Griffins Ochieng, of CEJAD (Center for Environmental Justice and Development) commented for both articles. “The chemistry council’s plastics proposals would “inevitably mean more plastic and chemicals in the environment,” said Ochieng. “It’s shocking.” In response to clogged waterways, Kenya imposed a country-wide plastic bag ban in 2017, putting it in the forefront of opposition to plastic waste, which contains toxic additives and can break down into smaller particles that enter food and water systems. “Africa is looking like a new dumping ground, we are not going to allow that,” Ochieng said.

For more on toxic plastics and weak controls on their trade and disposal, visit our Toxic Plastics page.

The twelfth meeting of the Basel Convention Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG12) is taking place in a planned two-session approach due to the Covid-19 crisis: an online segment on September 1st - 3d and if possible, a face-to-face meeting in March. Recorded briefings on the set-up from UNEP are available in the UN languages here.

The online session will not take any decisions or negotiate any text but instead will focus on presentations of progress of the intersessional process, such as the various technical guidelines followed by interventions. More information about the online segment and meeting documents is available here and here.

Read IPEN's Interventions

View online side events

IPEN was well represented at the first segment of the 12th Open Ended Working Group of the Basel Convention along with delegates from scores of countries across the globe. The meeting sought to confirm schedules for advancing reviews of key technical guidelines for addressing some of the most critical global pollution issues in the world today including the transboundary movement of hazardous wastes such as plastic, mercury, and persistent organic pollutants (POPs). The advancement of the technical guidance is to allow their presentation for adoption at COP 15 of the Basel Convention in July 2021.

Move leaves door open to pushing toxics to poorer communities

In response to last week's European Commision announcement that it will allow trade of problematic plastic waste within the EU, IPEN and many other global and European environmental groups have lined up to voice their opposition. Amendments last year to the Basel Convention enhanced restrictions on global trade in waste, helping smaller nations or countries without the capacity to handle that waste reject it. These amendments were passed in response to countless human rights abuses, and environmental pollution caused by unregulated plastic waste dumping. Such problematic plastic wastes now will require prior consent by importing nations. However, the Commision's ruling leaves the door open for waste traders to shunt difficult-to-recycle plastics to substandard operations in poorer EU communities, as well as plastic waste to "waste-to-energy" incinerators in other EU countries.

In its press release, the groups claim that the move undermines both the EU's commitments to carbon neutrality and a circular economy, as well as its global leadership on plastic waste.

"How does bending current EU rules and creating double standards for the EU demonstrate any kind of global leadership?" asked Jim Puckett of the Basel Action Network, a global toxic trade watchdog organization. "How is the rest of the world going to take the EU seriously when they preach boldly on the global stage and then run back home to coddle their waste and plastics industries?"

Green Groups Denounce Europe's "Do As I Say, Not As I Do" Policy

In April of last year, the European Union joined Norway in co-sponsoring amendments to the world's only waste treaty to establish new trade controls on the dirtiest and most unrecyclable plastic wastes. These amendments were passed in response to countless human rights abuses, and environmental pollution caused by unregulated plastic waste dumping.

A container full of imported plastic waste is inspected by the local environment office at the Batu Ampar port in Indonesia on June 15, 2019.
Photographer: Andaru/AFP via Getty Images

https://news.bloomberglaw.com/environment-and-energy/eu-moves-to-ban-cer...

The European Union plans to go further than an international treaty in restricting exports of plastic waste, potentially spelling problems for the bloc in dealing with hard-to-recycle material.

Groups pursue ban on waste trade as the first anniversary of the re-exportation of Canadian garbage dumped in the Philippines on May 31 nears

(Quezon City, Philippines) - Civil society groups marked the first anniversary of the repatriation of 69 container vans of rotting Canadian garbage to their source with a resounding plea for decisive policy actions to prevent its recurrence and to defend environmental justice and the rule of law.

Study Finds Toys Made of Black Recycled Plastics Pose Serious Threat to Children’s Health

PRESS RELEASE

(Gothenburg, Sweden): A ground-breaking study analyzing the effects of toxic chemicals in plastic children’s toys and consumer products on human cells demonstrates that toys made from some recycled plastics are toxic to humans and can significantly contribute to the dioxin daily intake level for children who mouth their toys. The levels of toxic chemicals revealed in all the samples studied were comparable to levels found in hazardous wastes, such as the ash from waste incinerators.

A team of researchers from Arnika, BioDetection Systems, and International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) determined that toys made of black plastic, which is often derived from recycled e-waste plastics with flame retardant chemicals, are toxic to human cells. The study reveals that children mouthing toys made from this plastic are at risk of dangerous health effects from the toxic material. It is the first study to establish the toxic effects of plastic toys made of recycled plastics on human cells.

Read the Report

Shenzhen, China – While many parts of the world are still in throes of COVID-19, many Chinese schools have been resuming classes as the epidemic looses its grip on China. For Chinese parents, however, aside from the deadly pandemic caused by a novel coronavirus, they may have to have at least one more concern for their children - the eraser.

As Shenzhen-headquartered NGO Toxics-Free Corps found in a recent investigation, many of the erasers in the market on Chinese mainland contain toxic substances that could pose potential hazards to children’s health.

The collected eraser samples come from the three E-commerce platforms including Taobao, Jingdong and Pinduoduo, as well as the on-site purchase of offline stores, with a total of 86 items, involving 33 well-known stationery brands.

Among 62 erasers the NGO sent for testing, 21 were found containing phthalic acid esters (PAEs), a kind of plasticizer. Moreover, the content of the substance in 18 of sampled erasers go beyond a well-known voluntary standard issued by China Stationery & Sporting Goods Association, the NGO said.

In one of the erasers, the content is 913 times higher than the standard, it added.

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