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IPEN

A Toxics-Free Future

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For Immediate Release

View the Report, Executive Summary, Video, and FAQ (available in Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish)

(Gothenburg, Sweden) As people and ecosystems around the world are increasingly exposed to multiple and interacting hazardous chemicals, experts from leading international law and global chemical safety organizations are releasing a groundbreaking report that offers a clear pathway to finance the control and regulate toxic chemicals and waste: a producer-pays tax on basic chemicals.

The chemical industry generates trillions of dollars in annual sales (projecting sales over USD 11 trillion in 2030), but it does not bear the significant health and environmental costs that derive from its activities. These costs, according to World Health Organization estimates, include 1.6 million annual premature deaths due to the global disease burden attributable to preventable chemical mismanagement and 45 million Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs).

The proposal by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) and the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) asserts that chemical producers must take greater financial responsibility for the safe management of their products, beginning with the production of feedstock chemicals that fuel the global chemicals sector and the rapidly growing petrochemical industry.

The plan proposes a small coordinated fee of 0.5% on the production value of basic chemicals that will fund the sound management of chemicals and waste. Basic chemicals are early-stage chemicals produced from petroleum, natural gas, and other raw materials. These chemicals represent the basic building blocks from which all other chemicals are made. In 2018, sales of basic chemicals totaled USD 2.3 trillion.

View the entire package, including the press release, reports, executive summary, FAQ, and videos.

Webinar series helps communities face wave of waste-to-energy proposals that hide toxic effects

Zero Waste Australia in concert with IPEN has created a webinar series aimed at steering communities back to an environmentally sound plastics waste strategy that doesn’t include waste-to-energy incineration projects, after the incineration industry seized upon a national declaration to end waste exports.

In 2019, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) declared that waste plastic, glass, paper and tyres would no longer be exported, stating that: "The COAG waste export ban is the first step in taking responsibility for our own waste and using this resource to create jobs, spark innovation, and deliver strong environmental outcomes."

The waste industry was quick to see an opportunity. Now, much of Australia's waste will be reprocessed into Process Engineered Fuel and Refuse Derived Fuel — both mixtures of waste that include discarded material, including plastics — for continued export overseas or as fuel for paper mills, cement plants, and waste-to-energy incinerators in Australia.

The company has already done so in the USA and Canada and should not operate a double standard in Mexico

(Mexico City) - IPEN environmental and health organizations, together with other civil society organizations, sent a letter yesterday to the Ministry of Health, the Federal Commission for the Protection of Sanitary Risks and the Federal Attorney's Office of the Consumer, requesting to end the sale of J&J baby powder and any other brands containing mineral talc, to avoid risks to the health of consumers by applying the Precautionary Principle.

Click the link above to read the letter and press release (Spanish).

Read the letter and press release urging the Mexican governemnet to recall Johnson and Johnson products containing mineral talc and join other international governments in banning talc that may contain asbestos from products.

Documents are in Spanish.

After LG’s toxic release of styrene vapor into a nearby residential area killing and injuring people, the Andhra Pradesh State Government convened a High Power Committee (HPC) to investigate the tragedy.

Two months later, the HPC delivered a 4,000-page report sharply critical of LG’s management. The government investigation demonstrated LG’s disregard for safety, raised the possibility of a double standard in LG operations in South Korea and India and revealed significant environmental pollution caused by LG’s massive styrene release.

Read IPEN’s summary analysis of the HPC reportTimeline of the LG Tragedy

Key findings of the report include the following:

India’s Andhra Pradesh State Government created a High Power Committee to investigate the LG tragedy which released its final report on 6 July 2020. The investigation revealed LG’s disregard for safety, raised the possibility of a double standard in LG operations in South Korea and India and revealed significant environmental pollution caused by LG’s massive styrene release.

Read IPEN’s brief below.

 

Updated: 24 September 2020

Joe DiGangi, PhD
Senior Science and Technical Advisor, IPEN

To mark World Environment Day, activists in India and South Korea performed press events to push LG to take full responsibility for its horrible tragedy in India. Note that LG is a Korean company headquartered in Seoul. Groups in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Japan, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, and Vietnam joined virtually.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) is the government legal body with expertise and jurisdiction over environmental matters. After LG's toxic release of styrene gas into a nearby residential area killing and injuring people, NGT convened an investigative committee.

Read IPEN’s summary and analysis of the NGT report | Timeline of the LG Tragedy

The NGT investigative committee delivered a critical final report on 28 May 2020 which concluded that LG’s “gross human failure” and the company’s lack of basic safety equipment and procedures caused the tragedy. The committee noted that, “The root cause thus appears to be the lack of experience of LG Polymers India and their Korean principal, LG Chem, in monitoring and maintaining full tanks of styrene that were idled for a long period of several weeks without operation.”

Key findings of the report include the following:

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