Alarming levels of some of the most toxic chemicals, including brominated dioxins and brominated flame retardants, were found in consumer products made of recycled plastics sold in Argentina, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, the EU, India, Japan and Nigeria.
Giving hazardous material to children to play with, we can agree, is a terrible idea. But the Canadian government, by allowing some of the most toxic chemicals in the world to be included in recycling, has done just that. Dangerous flame-retardant chemicals, which have been banned globally, can be found in children’s toys and home products that are made of recycled plastics because of one bad policy.
Every human on Earth is ingesting nearly 2,000 particles of plastic a week. These tiny pieces enter our unwitting bodies from tap water, food, and even the air, according to an alarming academic study sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, dosing us with five grams of plastics, many cut with chemicals linked to cancers, hormone disruption, and developmental delays. Since the paper’s publication last year, Sen. Tom Udall, a plain-spoken New Mexico Democrat with a fondness for white cowboy hats and turquoise bolo ties, has been trumpeting the risk: “We are consuming a credit card’s worth of plastic each week,” Udall says. At events with constituents, he will brandish a Visa from his wallet and declare, “You’re eating this, folks!”
With new legislation, the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act of 2020, Udall is attempting to marshal Washington into a confrontation with the plastics industry, and to force companies that profit from plastics to take accountability for the waste they create. Unveiled in February, the bill would ban many single-use plastics and force corporations to finance “end of life” programs to keep plastic out of the environment. “We’re going back to that principle,” the senator tells Rolling Stone. “The polluter pays.”
An international group of 33 world-renowned scientists published today a peer-reviewed consensus statement on the impact of food contact chemicals on human health and recommended improvements of the assessment of chemicals in a health-protective way . Civil society groups from Europe, the U.S.
by Faye Leone, Content Editor, SDGs and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (US)
NGOs in five countries studied playground equipment as part of their participation in the International Pollutants Elimination Network, and found lead levels as high as 100,000 ppm in the equipment paint.
The recommended limit by UNEP is 90 ppm.
IPEN is calling for lead paint bans to include industrial paint on outdoor equipment, not only decorative paint, to protect children's health.
Children’s playgrounds in Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, the Philippines and Thailand commonly contain painted equipment with lead levels above 90 ppm, the recommended limit by UN Environment Program (UNEP). Organizations in each country studied playground equipment as part of their participation in the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN), a group of NGOs working to prevent toxic chemicals from harming human health and the environment.
Two-page guide to Minamata issues and the Minamata Convention related to the film "Minamata," which profiles the work of photojournalists Eugene Smith and Aileen Mioko Smith to document the tragedy of Minamata disease in Japan.
A new film starring Johnny Depp, "Minamata", directed by Andrew Levitas, tells the story of the legendary photo-journalist Eugene Smith and his wife Aileen Mioko Smith whose LIFE Magazine photos and book Minamata brought global attention to the devastating impacts of mercury pollution and exposed the corporate malfeasance of the Chisso Corporation that knowingly poured mercury-contaminated wastewater into Minamata Bay for decades. The film is an important opportunity to hold polluters accountable and to move global policy to more effectively curb mercury pollution.
Majority of Highly Hazardous Pesticides are sold by the top 5 agrochemical companies to developing countries such as India, a joint investigation by Unearthed and Public Eye shows. (Photo credit: SAHANIVASA)
PAN Asia Pacific (PANAP) expressed alarm at a recent investigation that more than one-third of the income of the top five agrochemical companies comes from the sales of Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs).
In a joint investigation by Unearthed and Public Eye, it was revealed that in 2018, Bayer-Monsanto, BASF, Syngenta, FMC and Corteva (formerly Dow and DuPont) sold $4.8 billion worth of products that contain HHPs, or pesticides that are highly hazardous to people, animals or ecosystems.
These CropLife companies, which together dominate two-thirds of the global agrochemicals market, also mostly sold HHPs in low-and middle-income countries, which represented 45% of HHPs sales, in comparison to high-income countries, which represented only 27% of HHPs sales.
by Faridah Hussein Were Lecturer, Department of Chemistry, University of Nairobi
Africa is facing a serious lead poisoning problem. In Senegal, for example, researchers linked the deaths of children from processing lead waste to supply a lead battery recycling plant in a poor suburb of Dakar.
In Kenya, the legacy of a shutdown lead-recycling plant is causing major health problems for people living in the neighbourhood. And in Nigeria an investigation by journalists showed how lead battery recycling facilities were poisoning workers and the people living in the area.
The problem is growing along with the market for lead batteries. This is due to lack of regulation and investment in environmentally sound battery recycling plants. Most facilities in Africa are small. They weren’t built with adequate pollution controls to prevent disasters and ongoing contamination.
The production of lead batteries is growing rapidly in Africa as the market for lead batteries expands. Global lead output continues to grow, with about 85% production going to make batteries.
We conducted a study around lead battery recycling plants in Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania and Tunisia. Our results showed significant lead contamination around 15 licensed battery recycling plants. This shows that informal sector recycling is not the only source of lead pollution.
The third Conference of the Parties to the Bamako Convention, held in Brazzaville from February 12 to 13, 2020, expressed the wish for a more efficient organisation of waste management. The challenge is to systematically prevent the import of toxic waste into Africa.
The Bamako Convention is not really applied in Africa, even 22 years after its entry into force. This treaty of African nations prohibiting the import into Africa of any type of hazardous waste (including radioactive waste), still remains an illusion for most countries on the continent.
“Chemicals are now everywhere and necessary for our daily lives. They are used in the majority of productive sectors and are exploited to solve several problems related to improving the quality of our lives. Of the 5 to 7 million known chemical substances, more than 80,000 are used by companies in their production processes and operations,” said Arlette Soudan-Nonault, Minister of Tourism and Environment of the Republic of Congo and new current president of the Bamako Convention, whose third conference of the parties was held from the 12th to the 13th of February 2020 in Brazzaville, on the theme: “Working for Africa with a safe future for chemicals and waste”.