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A Toxics-Free Future


Southeast Asia

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.

(Quezon City, Philippines) The waste and pollution watchdog group EcoWaste Coalition today presented the “Environmental Justice Award” to Bureau of Customs-Region 10 District Collector John Simon in a virtual ceremony.

Simon, a customs official with 31 years of distinguished service in the government sector, is the lone recipient of the group’s first ever “Environmental Justice Award” coinciding with the national observance of “Zero Waste Month” this January.

QUEZON CITY – A toxics watchdog group pushed for consumer vigilance to counter the illegal sale of aerosol or spray paints for general use laden with high concentrations of lead.

The EcoWaste Coalition pleaded for vigilance after detecting dangerously high lead levels in 13 new spray paints ahead of the seventh anniversary of the groundbreaking Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Re

On January 1, China will no longer be accepting waste from other countries, with Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia likely to feel the brunt of the new policy

(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.

The Philippines marks this year’s International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (ILPPW) with the historic phase-out of paints containing lead additives as backdrop.

The ILPPW, which will take place from October 25th until the 31st, is an initiative of the UN-backed Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint with this year’s edition focusing on the need to accelerate progress towards the global phase out of lead paint through regulatory and legal measures.

Drone view of Thai "dioxin factory" where circuit boards and wires are burned in a giant smelter. Toxic smoke belches from the stack, while ash piles are visible in foreground, and imported electronic equipment seen in the background. Photo Basel Action Network (BAN).

Strict Enforcement and Similar Actions by other Countries Called For

Bangkok, Thailand and Seattle, WA, USA. October 6, 2020. Following repeated revelations of the dumping of electronic wastes, from countries such as the US, Japan, and Australia, the Thai government has finally passed a full prohibition on the import of such hazardous wastes into Thailand. Environmental groups that had been calling for such a ban for several years applauded the move but now call for vigorous enforcement of the law, the addition of plastic wastes and the ratification by Thailand of the Basel Convention's Ban Amendment.

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.

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

Report by Toxics Free Corps, China, in Chinese:

Ground-breaking report finds greater monitoring needed

Quezon City, Philippines/Gothenburg, Sweden - In the first public study of its kind, environmental health groups EcoWaste Coalition and IPEN uncovered spray paints with dangerous lead concentrations — some samples containing levels hundreds of times higher than global standards — on sale in the Philippines in violation of the country’s law banning lead in paints.

The report shows that nearly half of the spray paints tested exceeded the total lead content limit above 90 parts per million (ppm), and nearly a third contained levels higher than 10,000 ppm. Samples were obtained from various retail outlets, including hardware stores, home improvement centers, general merchandise marts, school and office supplies shops, in 20 cities and one municipality in Metro Manila and various parts of Luzon.

Several of the spray paints containing lead were imported from countries with existing, legally-binding lead paint regulations, such as China and Thailand. The Philippine Association of Paint Manufacturers (PAPM) confirmed that none of the analyzed samples in this study was produced by one of its affiliates.