PFOA - the “Teflon chemical” - starts its journey to global elimination
(Rome, Italy) A UN expert committee recommended the global elimination of DecaBDE – a toxic flame retardant chemical widely used in electrical equipment and present in e-waste. In its recommendation for the Stockholm Convention, the Committee cited DecaBDE’s persistence, bioaccumulation, long-range transport, and its toxic impacts. Governments around the world will decide on the recommendation in May 2017, but typically accept the recommendations of its expert committees.
The Committee decision recommends that governments consider granting specific exemptions for use of DecaBDE in some legacy spare parts in the automotive and aerospace industries. The Boeing Company and the Aerospace and Defence industries Association of Europe and the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) pressured for these exemptions but when asked, could not specify which parts they claim need to be exempted.
In preparation for the 11th meeting of the Stockholm Convention's POPs Review Committee (POPRC), which will take place 19 – 23 October in Rome, IPEN has developed a Quick Guide to IPEN Views on POPRC11. This document highlights IPEN's views on issues that the Committee will tackle at the meeting, including whether DecaBDE (extensively used as an additive flame retardant), dicofol (a chemical that kills mites that is structurally similar to DDT), short-chained chlorinated paraffins (used in metalworking, flame retardants, paints, adhesives and sealants, plastics and rubber etc.), and PFOA (the “Teflon chemical”) should move forward in the Convention evaluation process, along with decisions regarding the unintentional production of hexachlorobutadiene and an update of a guidance document on PFOS alternatives.
Prague, 12 October 2015 — A new survey found toxic flame retardant chemicals from electronic waste are recycled into plastic children’s toys for sale in the European Union. Measurements of 21 toys purchased in six EU countries found that 43% of them contained significant levels of OctaBDE and/or DecaBDE. OctaBDE is listed in the Stockholm Convention for global elimination. DecaBDE is under evaluation by the Stockholm Convention expert committee which has concluded that “global action is warranted.” Both chemicals are ubiquitous in the environment globally and can disrupt human hormone systems, creating potential adverse effects on the development of the nervous system and children’s IQ.
A United Nations group will soon begin investigating whether to include a toxic chemical, linked to a contamination case involving the RAAF Base in Williamtown, on a global list potentially banning its use.
Loophole will give banned flame retardants a second life in consumers’ homes
Geneva/Brussels – Public interest groups are calling on the European Commission to ban the recycling of materials containing toxic flame retardants. In a letter delivered this morning, the Centre for International Environmental Law, the European Environmental Bureau, Women in Europe for Common Future and IPEN, supported by a host of NGOs worldwide, highlighted the need to stop DecaBDE  reappearing in recycled products.
IPEN worked with partners Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), European Environmental Bureau (EEB) and Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF) to send a letter to the European Commission about the European Union's position on the recent proposal to recycle materials containing the toxic flame retardant DecaBDE. This proposal will be addressed at the upcoming meeting of the Stockholm Convention POPs Review Committee (POPRC) in October and the letter urges the Commission to take a clear position against recycling materials containing DecaBDE.
On August 11, 2015, in Minsk, Belarus, the second sub-regional seminar of IPEN Participating Organisations was completed. The event was coordinated by Eco-Accord, IPEN Hub for Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA), and Centre of Environmental Solutions (CES), Belarus, and was attended by NGOs from Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine, and representatives of IPEN and the Organization for Security and Co-operation (OSCE) in Ukraine. They discussed issues associated with strengthening civil society organisations working on chemical safety. The first seminar of the series was held in June 2015, in Almaty, for Central Asia countries.