(Anchorage, Alaska, US): With a unanimous vote, the Anchorage Assembly passed Assembly Ordinance 2019-15(S), an ordinance prohibiting certain consumer products containing flame retardant chemicals at the March 19 regular assembly meeting. This landmark public health ordinance now stands among the strongest laws in the nation.
“One of the core values of ACAT is the elimination of chemicals that harm environmental and human health and to replace them with safe alternatives,” said Pamela Miller, Executive Director of Alaska Community Action on Toxics (ACAT) and Co-Chair of IPEN. “There is considerable peer-reviewed scientific information about the adverse health effects of flame-retardant chemicals including cancer and neurodevelopmental and reproductive toxicity. This ordinance moves our city one step closer to eliminating the unnecessary use of harmful flame retardants in all household products. We appreciate the work of the Anchorage Assembly to achieve its passage,” she said.
With six other health and environment groups, IPEN has written a letter to European Environment Ministers and members of the EU Parliament and Commission to express concerns about toxic recycling. In the letter, the NGOs call on them to adopt strict and protective limits for PBDEs in articles and waste into the POPs Regulation, so that the EU will comply with its obligations stemming from the Stockholm Convention.
This letter addresses the European Parliament and Council decision on the reform of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) that was announced in late February. Hailed as protective for health, the decision will actually cause more children to be exposed to hazardous flame-retardant chemicals associated with thyroid disruption and neurological deficits. The decision permits high levels of hazardous brominated flame retardants (PBDEs) that are in electronics waste, including those already banned by the Stockholm Convention, to be allowed in recycled plastics.
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.
Geneva: Governments at the Stockholm Convention 8th Conference of the Parties (COP8) agreed to add three toxic chemicals to the treaty, but granted extensive loopholes for two of them. The chemicals are DecaBDE, SCCPs, and HCBD.1 All three chemicals are persistent, highly toxic, travel long distances and build up in the food chain. Loopholes were granted for DecaBDE and SCCPs and recent IPEN studies found both substances in children’s toys.2 A small group of countries rejected proposals to at least label new products containing the substances. Countries and consumers concerned about contaminated products will have no information about their content.
“This is the beginning of the end for DecaBDE, SCCPs, and HCBD,” said Dr. Olga Speranskaya, IPEN Co-Chair. “We urge governments to move quickly to prohibit these substances and not prolong harm through the use of exemptions.”