The National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea has paid meaningful attention to the hazardous conditions in the semi-conductor industry by hosting Supporters of Health and Rights of People in the Semi-Conductor Industry (SHARPs) and IPEN for a premiere of the new documentary film, "Stories from the Clean Room.” In preparation for the film premiere, IPEN Senior Science and Technical Advisor Joseph DiGangi, PhD wrote an article that appeared in the Korean media outlets OhMyNews and MediaToday. The main purpose of the article was to introduce the international concern about toxic exposure and occupational health and safety that has been generated by the deaths and grave illnesses of former Samsung workers.
To the Minjoo Party of Korea: We represent international networks that have been focusing for many years on human rights, occupational health and environmental health in the global electronics industry. We stand in solidarity with SHARPS during their historic 600+ day sit-in at Samsung.
The recent framework agreement signed by the Minjoo Party and SHARPS (see below) provides key objectives for worker safety policies including right-to-know, protecting sub-contractor workers, and strengthening enforcement and penalties to increase corporate accountability.
Göteborg, Sweden: Developing and transition countries stand to lose millions of dollars in earning potential every year due to mercury contamination, according to a new study published inThe Journal of Environmental Management. The analysis, led by noted researcher Dr. Leonardo Trasande, MD, MPP, is the first peer-reviewed study to estimate economic losses due to diminishing IQ resulting from mercury contamination in these countries.
The study evaluated mercury concentrations in hair samples from 236 participants from 17 sites in 15 countries, and estimated an annual loss of $77 - $130 million USD to these specific communities. All study participants lived near highly toxic mercury sources named in the Minamata Convention, the international treaty that obligates parties to take actions to minimize and eliminate mercury pollution to protect human health and the environment. On May18th, the Convention reached the 50-country ratification milestone and will become international law August 16th.
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.”
(Geneva) – At the Stockholm Convention 8th Conference of the Parties (COP8), governments bowed to corporate influences in the listing decisions concerning two toxic chemicals under provisions of the treaty. Although delegates agreed to list the chemicals for global elimination, the decisions allow exemptions that extend industrial uses far into the future.
Geneva: Today at the Stockholm Convention 8th Conference of the Parties (COP8), governments rushed thru decisions to list two toxic chemicals, but provided extraordinary loopholes that permit all uses of them. The chemicals are DecaBDE, a flame retardant commonly found in electronic waste, and SCCPs, an industrial chemical used in metal working and as a flame retardant in plastics.1 Both chemicals are persistent, highly toxic, travel long distances and build up in the food chain. Recent IPEN studies found both substances widely present in children’s toys.2
“Delegates made a mockery of the theme of the meeting, “A Future Detoxified,” said Dr. Mariann Lloyd-Smith, IPEN Sr. Advisor. “Today’s decisions guarantee harmful worker exposures, poisonous children’s toys, contaminated recycling streams, and more waste dumping. The real theme of the meeting seems to be “A Future De-Toxified.”
Geneva: Today, at the Stockholm Convention 8th Conference of the Parties, Chile and Canada surprised delegates by proposing to allow recycling materials containing a toxic flame retardant widely found in electronic waste (e-waste). The proposal violates the Stockholm Convention which explicitly prohibits recycling and reuse of substances on its list.
DecaBDE is used in the plastic casings of electronic products and if it is not removed, it is carried into new products when the plastic is recycled. Toxicity studies indicate potential adverse developmental, neurotoxic, and reproductive effects, and DecaBDE or its degradation products may also act as endocrine disruptors.
Ironically, a new IPEN study1 shows that the toxic recycling policy advocated by these countries widely contaminates children’s products. In fact, in Canada all sampled toys made of recycled plastic contained both OctaBDE and DecaBDE.