This new report was prepared by IPEN to address a major source of POPs contamination of the environment that is often overlooked, underestimated or incorrectly classified in risk assessments, exposure scenarios and regulatory controls on waste. Ash and other residues from waste incineration contain dioxins, furans (PCDD/Fs) and a range of other highly toxic POPs at levels which are a threat to human health and the environment. Current management practices and regulatory threshold levels for POPs that contaminate incinerator residues are not preventing releases of POPs into agricultural settings, the food chain and the broader environment.
Pamela Miller boarded a plane Wednesday morning bound for Geneva, Switzerland, where she hopes the world will ban a chemical she believes may have killed five members of her family.
She grew up next to a plant in Ohio that produced vast quantities of short-chain chlorinated paraffins, called SCCPs. Now she is deeply involved in the international process to stop the chemical's manufacture and other persistent organic pollutants, called POPs, that especially hurt Arctic people.
Thursday, a report she co-authored with the help of an international team will be released with test results that found SCCPs in children's toys, such as rubber duckies and Mickey Mouse slippers, and in baby bibs and a hand blender for baby food, items purchased all over the world.
The chemical, used to soften plastic, has already been banned in many countries because it harms neurological development in children, as well as disrupting the endocrine system and causing liver and kidney disease and cancer.
"It's a chemical that nobody has ever heard of, yet it is produced in huge volume and it's in many products we use every day," Miller said.
A survey of children’s products in 10 countries1 finds widespread contamination with an industrial chemical recommended for global prohibition. Short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs) are industrial chemicals primarily used in metalworking, but also as flame retardants and softeners in plastics. Their harmful properties have attracted global concern and a Stockholm Convention expert committee has recommended world-wide elimination of SCCPs under the treaty. SCCPs adversely affect the kidney, liver, and thyroid; disrupt endocrine function; and are anticipated to be human carcinogens.