Gothenburg, Sweden Risks associated with the transport of chemicals and plastics in ever-larger container ships need to be addressed, say the authors of the first public study into the impacts on people and the environment of toxic chemicals released during the largest plastic pellet spill on record.
The report, X-Press Pearl: a ‘new kind of oil spill’, a toxic mix of plastics and invisible chemicals, is published today by health and environmental advocates International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) and The Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ). It includes results of the groups’ analysis of plastic debris that washed up on Sri Lankan beaches, and testimonies from communities devastated by the pollution, following the loss of the X-Press Pearl, which sank off the port of Colombo in May 2021.
By Angélica Enciso L., Periódico La Jornada, published 13 Jan 2022
Los plásticos contienen unas 10 mil sustancias químicas, de las cuales la mitad son aditivos y muchos son tóxicos, por lo que son dañinos para la salud y el ambiente. Ante ello, se debe reducir su producción y generar políticas públicas para frenar la crisis plástica creciente, aunque en el país aún se les promociona y sólo se tiene la visión del negocio, señalaron las organizaciones Fronteras Comunes, Asociación Ecológica Santo Tomás y la Red Internacional de Eliminación de Contaminantes.
IPEN, Arnika and 16 European NGOs call on leaders to lower threshold values for POPs in waste, which enter recycling and waste exports
Wednesday, 22 December 2021
The problem: the European Commission currently proposes industry friendly ‘middle-ground’ POP limits for waste based on economic criteria instead of strong and health-protective values.
The European Commission (EC) is proposing to adopt new limit values for persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in waste. The Stockholm Convention requires the destruction of wastes that exceed POPs limit values (known as Low POP Content Levels set by the Basel Convention) and bans the recycling of wastes contaminated with POPs to maintain toxic-free material cycles. However, the EC is proposing weak POP limits, which will allow plastic and other wastes contaminated with POPs to be, in practice, recycled by industry in the EU. The transition to high-quality and toxic-free material cycles cannot be achieved while allowing POPs recycling in materials.
IPEN, Arnika, and 16 NGOs urge in their letter to Members of the European Parliament and Member States to support stronger limit values for POPs in waste than what the EC proposes. The weak limits currently proposed by the EC undermine the Stockholm Convention and will lead to POPs recycling that is incompatible with the European Green Deal.
Gothenburg, Sweden Plastics pose significant threats to human health and ecosystems throughout their life cycles, according to two new studies by the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN). To get a global picture of the role plastics play in transporting toxic chemicals around the world, IPEN worked with International Pellet Watch (IPW) and its NGO partners in 35 countries to investigate hazardous chemicals and pollutants present in:
spilled or lost pre-production plastic pellets found on beaches; and
recycled plastic pellets purchased from recycling facilities.
Both studies reveal the presence of toxic chemical additives and pollutants that pose multiple health threats to humans and the environment. The health effects include causing cancer or changing hormone activity (known as endocrine disruption), which can lead to reproductive, growth, and cognitive impairment. Many of the toxic chemical additives have several other known health impacts, persist in the environment, and bioaccumulate in exposed organisms.
IPEN science and technical advisor, and lead author of the beach pellet study, Dr. Therese Karlsson says: “These new studies further support our recommendation that international action to create more sustainable uses of plastics needs to look beyond waste to address harm and damage related to the toxic chemical additives in plastics.”
Because almost all plastics contain toxic chemicals, recycling processes can perserve and can even generate toxic chemicals, such as dioxins. In this study, pellets made from recycled HDPE, intended for use in new products, were purchased from 24 recyclers in 23 countries and analyzed for 18 substances. The large number of toxic chemicals in many of the samples highlights the need to rethink recycling to ensure it does not perpetuate harms.
Plastics pose significant threats to human health and ecosystems throughout their life cycles, according to two new studies by the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN). To get a global picture of the role plastics play in transporting toxic chemicals around the world, IPEN worked with International Pellet Watch (IPW) and its NGO partners in 35 countries to investigate hazardous chemicals and pollutants present in:
This summary of our two plastic pellets reports encapsulate the broad issues related to toxic chemicals in plastics and the concerns with recycling processes that can perserve or generate toxic chemicals.