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IPEN

A Toxics-Free Future

POPs

(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.

The Recycler

https://www.therecycler.com/posts/new-decabde-threshold-too-high/

A range of NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations) have complained that the new concentration limit for toxic flame retardants such as DecaBDE is still too high, calling it a “permission slip to contaminate.”

 

Press Release

(Prague, Brussels): The European Parliament and Council decision on the reform of the persistent organic pollutants (POPs) announced this week, hailed as protective for health, will 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 News

https://www.ehn.org/plastic-pollution-and-human-health-2629322391.html

"Every stage of the plastic lifecycle poses significant risks to human health, and the majority of people worldwide are exposed to plastic at multiple stages of this lifecycle."

Press Release / Full Report / Executive Summary

Washington, DC—A new report released today reveals that plastic is a human health crisis hiding in plain sight. Plastic & Health: The Hidden Costs of a Plastic Planet, authored by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), Earthworks, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), Healthy Babies Bright Futures (HBBF), IPEN, Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (t.e.j.a.s.), University of Exeter, and UPSTREAM, brings together research that exposes the distinct toxic risks plastic poses to human health at every stage of the plastic lifecycle, from extraction of fossil fuels, to consumer use, to disposal and beyond.

To date, research into the human health impacts of plastic have focused narrowly on specific moments in the plastic lifecycle, often on single products, processes, or exposure pathways. This approach fails to recognize that significant, complex, and intersecting human health impacts occur at every stage of the plastic lifecycle: from wellhead to refinery, from store shelves to human bodies, and from waste management to ongoing impacts of microplastics in the air, water, and soil. Plastic & Health presents the full panorama of human health impacts of plastic and counsels that any solution to the plastic crisis must address the full lifecycle.

According to the report, uncertainties and knowledge gaps often impede regulation and the ability of consumers, communities, and policymakers to make informed decisions. However, the full scale of health impacts throughout plastic’s lifecycle are overwhelming and warrant a precautionary approach. 

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