IPEN is a global network of more than 500 public interest non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in 116 countries to establish and implement safe chemicals policies and practices that protect human health and the environment. This week, 120 of IPEN’s environmental, health and human rights leaders from 55 countries are meeting in San Francisco, California in the U.S. for a Global Meeting and Toxics-Free Future Forum (14-18 November 2016). During this meeting, we have had the opportunity to hear first-hand accounts of the ruthless treatment and negligence perpetrated by Samsung against its workers. We are outraged by Samsung’s illegal tactics that include brutal and unsafe working conditions, toxic exposures, physical and mental harassment, use of child labor, wiretapping, bribery, and thwarting of unionization. These unconscionable actions violate the fundamental human rights, health, and dignity of the workers and their families.
While the world is celebrating the International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action, the European Commission (EC) is being challenged on its recent decision to authorize Dominion Colour Corporation to supply red and yellow lead chromate pigments for use in the EU in so-called industrial paint.
Lead chromates are composed of lead, a neurotoxin which harms the nervous system, and chromium, a carcinogen causing lung tumours. Children are particularly vulnerable to lead exposure and the health effects are generally irreversible and have a lifelong impact. Lead chromates are also extremely toxic to aquatic life. The use of these toxic paint components has been abandoned for decades in many EU countries and many paint companies have publicly stated that safer alternatives do exist and that they have been using them for years.
(Gothenburg, Sweden) Many decorative paints sold in over 40 low- and middle income countries contained dangerous levels of lead, sometimes in direct violation of national regulation, according to a new report released by IPEN today. The report, Global Lead Paint Report, brings together data from paint studies conducted since 2009 in 46 low- and middle-income countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe.
한국어 IPEN has joined with trade unions and public interest organizations to endorse a letter from Supporters of Health and Rights of People in the Semiconductor Industry (SHARPS) to Mr. Jae-yong Lee, the heir apparent of Samsung Electronics. The letter urges Mr. Lee to initiate a new dialogue with SHARPS about his company’s occupational disease victims. As of September 2016, SHARPS has profiled 223 Samsung Electronics employees who developed a variety of serious diseases including leukemia, brain tumors, and multiple sclerosis. Of the 223 victims, 76 have died.
Press Release, Quezon City. Civil society groups exhorted Asian governments to ratify the Minamata Convention on Mercury as environmental and health officials from several countries converge in Pasay City for a three-day regional forum.
In a joint statement, the EcoWaste Coalition, the Collaboration Center for Minamata Disease Victims and IPEN (a global NGO network for a toxics-free future) called upon the participants of the “Regional Forum on Environment and Health in A Southeast and East Asian Countries” to endorse the rapid ratification of the mercury treaty and promote the early implementation of activities, with full participation of public interest groups, to prevent and reduce mercury pollution.
Rome, Italy — A UN expert committee has determined that PFOA, commonly known as the “Teflon chemical,” warrants global action under the Stockholm Convention, an international treaty that bans the world’s most hazardous chemical pollutants.
In a consensus decision, the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC) agreed that PFOA “is presumed to be an immune hazard to humans” and linked to, “high cholesterol, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, testicular cancer, kidney cancer and pregnancy-induced hypertension.” Experts concluded that PFOA does not degrade in the environment, is transported over long distances, and biomagnifies in animals, threatening the food chain. As a result, the expert group, noting a recent study concluded that, “a ‘safe’ concentration in the environment cannot be established.”
This week in Rome, the Stockholm Convention POPs Review Committee is considering its final recommendations to governments about listing flame retardant, DecaBDE, in the Stockholm Convention for global elimination. The auto and aerospace industries have pressured the Committee to exempt certain uses of DecaBDE. In addition, the UK government has pushed for sweeping exemptions for uses in military vehicles and airplanes.
Surprisingly, an IPEN examination of submissions to the Committee revealed that the UK government submitted virtually identical comments as the UK Aerospace, Defence, Security and Space industry association (ADS). For example, the UK and ADS submissions identically claim that the, “cost and time required to re-certify a change of flame retardant is substantial and we believe presents a disproportionate impact on our industry.”
IPEN Science and Technical Advisor, Joe DiGangi, said that, “Promoting industry lobbyist comments as a government submission is a clear conflict of interest, disrespectful to the UK public, and completely undermines the credibility of the government.”