On Thursday, November 15th, the EU Parliament plenary will vote on the recast of the POPs regulation. Some of the proposed amendments would still undermine the regulation, allowing very high levels of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and toxic recycling.
(Bali, Indonesia): The comprehensive report, Ocean Pollutants Guide: Toxic Threats to Human and Marine Life, recently released by IPEN and the National Toxics Network (NTN), provides an up-to-date synthesis of data on toxic chemical ocean pollution, including hazardous pesticides, pharmaceuticals, persistent organic pollutants (POPs) like PCBs, plastics, microplastics, and heavy metals, and exposes their sweeping impacts on marine and human life. A valuable resource for policy makers, the report bridges information gaps between ocean health and chemical safety, and highlights critical policy opportunities for action by bringing simultaneous visibility to the role of invisible toxic chemicals and plastics.
Ocean health is essential for our survival. Yet every day, a toxic cocktail of intentional and unintentional chemical releases, along with a relentless tidal wave of wastes, particularly plastic waste, enters our waterways and the marine environment. This dual and intertwined threat of invisible toxic chemicals, microplastics, and visible plastic debris profoundly endangers human health, marine life and the environment.
Environmental health researchers released alarming evidence  today that toxic brominated flame retardants, hazardous chemicals from electronic waste that are known to disrupt thyroid function and cause neurological and attention deficits in children, are contaminating recycled plastics in consumer products across Europe.
The report release coincides with a crucial vote in the European Parliament to establish and re-evaluate recycling exemptions for POPs (Persistent Organic Pollutants) in waste and with the European Commission’s revision of POPs waste limits. Both decisions will determine whether toxic waste materials, such as e-waste containing brominated flame retardants, will be allowed in recycled plastics.
(Göteborg, Sweden): Public protections in Europe against the world’s worst chemicals will be decided in an upcoming vote on 10 October 2018. At issue is the regulation that implements the Stockholm Convention – a treaty that lists 28 substances for global elimination. Earlier this year, the European Commission proposed substantial changes to the regulation, including 56 amendments proposed by Members of the European Parliament. Public interest organizations from 150 countries have raised concerns about the proposed revisions, which would increase hazardous chemical contamination in consumer products, allow production and use of substances banned globally, and even weaken the EU´s ability to nominate new substances to the Convention.
In a decision announced Friday (Sept. 21) in Rome, a group of UN experts tasked with deciding which chemicals should be globally banned under the Stockholm Convention decided to add PFOA and PFOS to the list.
(Rome, Italy) Faced with rampant drinking water pollution around the world from toxic fluorinated chemicals, a UN expert committee recommended a global ban on PFOA / PFOS. The committee recommended strict restrictions for their use in firefighting foams – a major source of water pollution around the world. At issue are two toxic fluorinated chemicals that have been used in firefighting foams; perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).
(Göteborg, Sweden): PFOA, the “Teflon chemical,” the cause of vast contamination of ground and drinking water around the world, is a persistent pollutant and suspected carcinogen. PFOA was nominated in 2015 for a global ban under the UN Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. An upcoming UN expert group meeting will make recommendations to governments about adding PFOA to the treaty, including possible loopholes that would continue production and use. Experts across diverse fields, including business, fire safety regulation, airport authorities, environmental science and medical device suppliers, strongly condemn proposed exemptions, arguing there is no justification for continued use when viable alternatives exist.