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IPEN

A Toxics-Free Future

Central and Eastern Europe

The Czech environmental group Arnika is ringing alarm bells. According to the results of a recent study it conducted, some children’s toys and grooming accessories, such as hair brushes, sold in the EU contain toxic substances. Arnika’s Karolína Brabcová says this is an unfortunate side product of the drive to promote plastics recycling.

Listen on Czech Radio: http://www.radio.cz/en/section/panorama/the-downside-of-plastics-recycli...

Read the executive summary of the report in English

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.

From 2015-2016, IPEN Participating Organizations, Arnika and EARTH, collected free range chicken eggs to study whether POPs were detected. 

They released a report to demonstrate the emerging problems of pollution caused by POPs in relation to the growing industries in Thailand.

Find a link to the full report here.

How to deal with toxic pollution: That was the main theme of the IPEN Central and Eastern Europe Regional Meeting that took place in Prague in October, 2017. The three-day conference of regional non-governmental organizations discussed a common future approach for Central and Eastern Europe. The meeting included an excursion to Spolana – a chlorine factory which is the biggest contemporary polluter of the Czech Republic. This trip showed how difficult, though not impossible, it may be to resolve historical environmental burdens.

Right in the historical centre of the Czech capital, environmental activists shared their experience regarding crucial issues of soil, water and air contamination from toxic waste. The conference brought together almost 30 participants representing fifteen European countries. The main goal of the meeting was to enhance the cooperation of environmental NGOs in the region, based on IPEN’s 2020 Global Plan and strategy. Maria Ekström Johansson, IPEN’s Operations and Finance Director, presented this strategy on the first day.

IPEN Participating Organization Arnika, based in the Czech Republic, recently found concentrations of toxic substances in several samples of commonly available summer shoes and drinking glasses. Chemical analysis was commissioned of footwear and printed glasses, and DEHP and DiBP, which are phthalates especially hazardous for human hormonal and reproductive systems, were found in the shoes, as well as lead. Children's shoes specifically were tested, because children are particularly vulnerable to the hazards of phthalates and heavy metals.

Let's keep control on the mercury around us!

Albanian NGO ‘EDEN Center’ (Environmental Center for Development Education and Networking) approached this project from the ambitious angle of awareness-raising on mercury pollution and the Mercury Treaty through youth networks, media and especially social media. EDEN produced a mini-documentary canvassing the views of ordinary Albanians in the city of Tirana, gauging their awareness level of mercury pollution and disseminating information to help inform the public of this hazardous pollutant and global attempts to control its distribution and use through the Treaty process.

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