PFHXs, Used as a Substitute for Banned PFOS and PFOA, Recommended for Global Ban
Friday, 04 October 2019
Rome, Italy An U.N. expert committee decided unanimously to recommend a complete global elimination for another toxic fluorinated “forever chemical.” Fluorinated chemicals are widespread pollutants threatening drinking water sources, public health and the occupational health of firefighters. They do not break down in the environment and accumulate in the bodies of wildlife and people. They are used in a wide variety of products, including firefighting foam, waterproofing of textiles, and food packaging, as well as other industrial and consumer applications.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have received significant public and media attention in the US, EU, and Australia, in part due to their toxicity, extreme persistence, and documented water pollution. However, information about PFAS in other parts of the world is largely lacking and the information which is available is difficult to access.
Over the past few months, IPEN Participating Organizations in twelve Middle Eastern and Asian countries conducted surveys to explore possible PFAS uses and pollution sources, scientific studies and government actions, including under the Stockholm Convention. Countries covered include: Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Research on PFAS and brominated dioxins shows ongoing health threats from toxic chemicals
Tuesday, 11 October 2022
New Orleans - At the Dioxin 2022 Conference beginning here on October 9, Dr. Jindrich Petrlik will present a recent study that demonstrates the failure of using high temperature approaches to eliminate wastes that contain the “forever chemicals” PFAS, and Valeriya Grechko will present another recent paper that found high levels of brominated dioxins in recycled plastic products purchased in eleven African, Arabic, and Latin American countries.
(Rome, Italy) A U.N. expert scientific review committee has evaluated two toxic, chemical additives found in many common plastics and has concluded the evidence of the substances harm to health and the environment qualify them for global elimination, recommending that the chemicals be listed under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).
See the IPEN video showing how exports of plastics and plastic waste, mostly from wealthy countries, bring toxic chemicals to Africa, exposing children and families to harmful chemicals and poisoning the circular economy.
A study published this month in the journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research co-authored by IPEN co-chair Pamela Miller with a group of scientists, colleagues from Alaska Community Action on Toxics (ACAT), and Indigenous community leaders found that highly toxic chemicals have accumulated in the bodies of seals, whales, and reindeer of the northern Bering Sea, contaminating vital food sources of Arctic Indigenous people.
The researchers coordinated with Indigenous hunters to collect tissue samples from traditionally harvested animals and found that toxic flame retardants (PBDEs) that were phased out in the U.S. in 2004 were frequently detected in all samples. The “forever chemicals” PFAS, substances linked to cancer, liver damage, decreased fertility, and other health conditions, were also found in some samples. The study concluded that “…PBDEs are present in tissues of traditional food animals… and consumption of these animals likely contributes to exposure among Arctic Indigenous Peoples.”
Davao City/Quezon City, Philippines Three civil society groups today urged the government and business sectors to protect workers and the general public from the adverse effects of exposure to endocrine-disrupting and cancer-linked chemicals present in thermal transaction receipts.
PFAS compound PFHxS listed for global ban with no exemptions; chemical recycling blocked over hazardous waste concerns; controls adopted on e-waste exports; and a proposal for burning PFAS in cement kilns stymied
Friday, 17 June 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Geneva, Switzerland Several notable decisions were adopted at the closing of two weeks of negotiations of the Joint Conference of the Parties (COP) of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions on hazardous chemical management.
IPEN Co-chair Pamela Miller reflected on the meeting, saying that “IPEN brings civil society to these meetings to bear witness for the billions of people around the world who could not be here, but whose health, well-being, and human rights depend on the decisions that are being made.” She continued, “These Conventions were adopted to protect vulnerable communities of women, children, workers and Indigenous communities. Still, governments and their powerful industry representatives put their own economic and trade interests before the health and well-being of the global environment and its inhabitants.”
Important Measures Taken to Control the Export of E-Waste
Massive amounts of electronic waste are today exported to developing countries and countries in transition. The Parties to the Basel Convent took a significant step during the COP towards controlling this highly polluting practice by listing e-waste under the convention, mandating a Prior Informed Consent procedure for transboundary movement of this type of waste.
Dr. Tadesse Amera, IPEN Co-chair commented “The export of electronic waste on developing countries leads to extensive pollution of the environment, poisoning of the food of local communities and severe health impacts. We welcome this decision to control all e-waste exports. However, we are also concerned about the remaining loophole for exporting e-waste under the guise of repair. We urge governments to restrict all export of used electronics under the Basel Convention”.
Action on Toxic PFAS “Forever Chemicals”
The toxic PFAS chemical PFHxS, together with its about 80 related substances, was listed under the Stockholm Convention for global elimination, with no exempted uses. These “forever chemicals” are used e.g. in stain-resistant fabrics, fire-fighting foams, food packaging, and as a surfactant in industrial processes.
Also, PFOA, another chemical in the PFAS family that was listed for global elimination under the Stockholm Convention in 2019 with a range of exemptions, was now adopted for listing under the Rotterdam Convention that controls transboundary movement of hazardous chemicals.