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A Toxics-Free Future


Highlights Front Roll

Plastics, Plastic Waste, and Chemicals in Africa
New Video: Plastics Poisoning Our Health
Promoting Stronger Protections on Chemicals at BRS COP
How the UNEA Plastics Resolutions Relates to Chemicals and Health
Plastic Poisons the Circular Economy
Plastic Waste Fuels: policy spreads toxic trade across Asia

Six IPEN Participating Organizations (POs) in South and Southeast Asia conducted new analytical studies on solvent-based paints, including industrial paints, that are sold in the local market. The studies show that lead paints are still manufactured and/or sold in countries where lead paint laws exist such as in Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Philippines, and Vietnam, and moreso in Indonesia which has yet to adopt a legally binding lead paint law. The results, released during the International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, justify the POs’ continuing campaign to ban the manufacture, import, export, distribution, sale, and use of all lead-containing paints to protect human health and the environment.

In 2002, the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development called for the phase-out of lead-based paints.

  • In 2009, the International Conference on Chemicals Management asked UNEP and WHO to establish a global partnership to promote phasing out lead in paint.
  • The United Nations Environmental Assembly and the World Health Assembly both have called upon governments to establish national controls on lead in paints.

In this same time period, we have achieved the global phase-out of leaded automobile fuels—a goal announced in 2002 at the same Johannesburg World Summit that called for the global phase-out of lead paints.

Why, after nearly 20 years, have we not eliminated lead paint globally?

IPEN POs Step Up Campaign for Global Phase-Out of Lead Paints in time for the 9th International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week

Forty-eight IPEN Participating Organizations (POs) from 35 countries will take part in the upcoming International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (ILPPW) on 24-30 October 2021. With the theme “Working Together for a World Without Lead Paint,” various activities will be carried out to emphasize the need to accelerate progress toward the global phase-out of lead-containing paints through regulatory and legal measures. Additionally, IPEN will organize a webinar on “Catalyzing the Global Phase-Out of Lead Paints,” which will discuss how listing lead pigments in the Rotterdam Convention will advance global lead paint elimination; help countries adopt and enforce lead paint control regulations; and make exporting countries assume major responsibilities for the control of lead pigments and the lead paints that contain them.

Now on its ninth year, the week of action aims to raise awareness about the health effects of lead exposure; highlight the efforts of countries and partners to prevent lead exposure, particularly in children; and to urge further action to eliminate lead paint through regulatory action at country level. The ILPPW, which counts on the participation of IPEN and many of its POs from low- and middle- income countries, is an initiative of the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint, which is jointly led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Gothenburg, Sweden A new educational series will focus on the specific risks women face when exposed to toxic chemicals. The goal of the free, online course is to educate the public at large and to build a broad, woman-led leadership for addressing issues related to toxic chemical exposure. The first in the nine-part series will be available beginning 18 October 2021 and can be accessed at

Sara Brosché, author of Women, Chemicals, and the SDGs, released in 2021, said: “Women are disproportionally impacted by exposure to chemicals and wastes, but they are under-represented when decisions about chemical use and disposal are being made. At the same time, it is women who often become the key agents for change in their communities. In developing this educational program, International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) hopes to encourage women to play a greater role in deciding when and how toxic chemicals are manufactured, used, and disposed of – at the community level as well as at national and international levels.”

IPEN Co-Chair outlines steps for addressing SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production)

Asked "What are the priorities for achieving the SDGs* within the context of the sustainable consumption and production SDG?" at the 8 July 2021 Berlin Forum on Chemical Sustainability: Ambition and Action towards 2030 Stakeholder Dialog, IPEN Co-Chair Dr. Tadesse Amera focused on four topics:

  1. eliminating the international double-standard,
  2. creating a better financial structure,
  3. recognizing the dangers of chemical additives in plastics, and
  4. the important contributions of youth to a better future.

Watch the video

Marcos Orellana, UN Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights

The right to science plays an essential role in both public communications regarding toxics and the science-policy interface

Geneva Following the release of the Special Rapporteur on Toxics and Human Rights, Professor Marcos A. Orellana’s report, “Right to science in the context of toxic substances” at the 48th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) and the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) issued the following statements.

Photo by Gage Skidmore

This article originally appeared in The Hill on 09/17/21

When President Biden took office, he pledged to protect people and the environment from toxic chemicals now poisoning communities across the United States. If he is serious about that promise, then his administration must align its foreign policies with its domestic commitments when it participates in the next meeting of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, an international treaty that prohibits dangerous pollutants that persist in the environment.

As countries are prepping for a consequential meeting early next year, the United States is behaving as the obstructionist in the room. With Biden’s nominee for the head of EPA’s Office of International and Tribal Affairs (OITA) on the cusp of Senate approval, the EPA is well-positioned to act now and reverse this dangerous pattern of obstructionism.

More than 180 nations — but not the United States — are parties to the Stockholm Convention. Instead, the United States is an “observer.” While the United States is not a party and is not bound to the convention’s restrictions, our government has a long history of obstructing the convention’s efforts to ban some of the most dangerous toxic chemicals.


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