"We are writing to respond to Samsung's criticisms of our recent study on working conditions at the company's mobile phone factories in Vietnam... In Vietnam and abroad, Samsung has been actively attempting to suppress and discredit this study that documents a number of concerning health and safety violations... However, none of Samsung's efforts can erase the evidence that Samsung has violated Vietnamese labour law and failed to honour its business obligations on human rights...
Our study and the company's reaction to it revealed several findings that are inconsistent with Samsung's obligations under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights including complying with national laws, providing a safe and healthy working environment, protecting the family unit, right to form independent trade unions, and freedom of expression...
The Supreme Court of Nepal has rejected a writ, filed by Nepal Paint Manufacturers Associations (NMPA) and other paint industry allies, which sought to nulify a mandatory standard for lead in paint enacted three years ago by the Government of Nepal. The law, which took effect in June, 2015, also requires companies to print the lead content of the paint and a precautionary message on paint can labels."
This is a victory for Nepalese children, who will now be protected from lead exposure in their homes, schools and parks, where heavily leaded paints are commonly used. Effective implementation of the law by all concerned government agencies will ensure that children in Nepal have the opportunity to grow and reach their full intellectual potential. We urge all involved in the paint industry to follow the law and produce paints that meet the country's mandatory lead paint standard of 90 ppm; label their products appropriately; and include a precautionary message on each paint can," said Mr. Ram Charitra Sah, Executive Director and Environment Scientist, Center for Public Health and Environmental Development (CEPHED).
No HazMat for the Holidays: Children’s Toys and Hair Accessories on the EU Market Contain Toxic Chemicals
(Gotebörg, Sweden) Dangerous levels of toxic industrial chemicals have been found in children’s toys and hair accessories sold in the EU. The Stockholm Convention , a global, legally-binding chemical treaty, allows PBDEs — toxins that are so dangerous they are banned from new production — to enter the recycling stream and end up in the toys in children’s hands. The circular economy, say environmental health researchers, is contaminated by dangerous flame retardant chemicals.
Researchers from Arnika , an environmental health research NGO in the Czech Republic, tested a total of 41 products (16 children’s toys and 31 grooming and hair accessories) for brominated flame retardants, a class of chemicals associated with impacts on nervous system development, thyroid disruption, memory and learning problems, lower IQ, reduced fertility, and other impacts.
Leading advocates from human rights, labor rights, women’s rights, public health, environmental justice, and sustainable purchasing organizations from around the world are
on Samsung to protect the thousands of workers - most of them women of child-bearing age - who are making their mobile phones at factories in Vietnam. A
from the Hanoi-based, gender equity NGO
Research Center for Gender, Family and Environment in Development
(CGFED) and IPEN identified numerous health and labor violations from interviews with 45 women who work at two of Samsung’s factories in Vietnam. Please sign and invite your network to join the signature campaign on
BBC covered the release of the CGFED/IPEN report on 15 December, in which the news outlet highlighted report findings, including workers' experiences of extreme fatigue, fainting and dizziness at work, and many accounts of miscarriage. In response, deputy general manager of Samsung Electronics Vietnam, Bang Hyun Woo said,"This report does not have a scientific basis." He also said much of the content in the report was "false" and "arbitrary."
IPEN requests Samsung "transparently publishes a complete list of chemicals used at the manufacturing facilities and describes the control."
Evidence that the neurotoxic metal mercury poses a global health threat to all was underscored today in a new study analyzing the mercury body burdens among delegates of a global conference of the world’s first mercury treaty. The study detected mercury levels above health alert thresholds in over half of the global policy decision-makers tested at the first Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention.
Researchers concluded that even global policy-makers who are educated about mercury risks are not protected from mercury contamination. The findings revealed mercury in all participants and elevated mercury levels exceeding theUS EPA health advisory level of 1 ppm. Levels many times higher were identified in delegates from a number of regions. Mercury, while harmful to adults, causes the greatest damage to the developing nervous systems of fetuses in utero.
Amongst other articles in the magazine, IPEN Co-Chair Olga Speranskaya writes about women leading the fight against the largest mining plant in Russia, the Tominsky MPP plant, owned by a Russian copper company. The company is currently destroying protected forests to clear land and build the mine. Activist scientists at the forefront of this movement describe a domino effect of environmental impacts that threaten to make the populated region uninhabitable.
Today in Nairobi, during the 3rd United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA3), IPEN and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) held a press conference to announce a new partnership to contribute to the work on Gender and Chemicals, through a focus on women. IPEN Co-Chair Dr. Olga Speranskaya opened the press conference with a statement on the partnership, reminding attendees: "There are nearly 4 billion women and girls on the planet. Despite the fact that women make up roughly half of the population and chemical exposure is widespread, knowledge of exposure routes and the true impacts of chemical exposures on women are difficult to determine because there is a lack of gender-disaggregated data."