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A Toxics-Free Future

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Highlights Front Roll

Understanding the Connection between COVID-19 and Chemicals
Report Highlights Threats of Toxic Additives in Plastic
Holding Producers Responsible: Financing the Sound Management of Chemicals
Australia plastics waste ban highjacked by incineration proposals
IPEN Leader Speaks Against US Dumping Plastics and Chemicals in Africa
Study Reveals High Levels of Lead in Spray Paints
New Study Proves Dioxins in Plastic Toys Harm Children

Global Phase Out of Lead-Containing Paints by 2020 Supported by International Chemical Safety Group

(Gothenburg, Sweden) More than 80 organizations from all regions of the world are engaging this week in lead paint elimination activities as a part of International Lead Poisoning Week of Action, co-sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The activities follow and celebrate a historic decision at the end of September by governments from around the world in support of a global phase out of lead paint by 2020.

“It’s essential for our society to respond to this global challenge and make the phase out of lead paint a top public health priority.  We must act with urgency as the health of our children can be permanently and irreversibly damaged even at very low exposures to lead. Safe, cost-effective alternatives to lead in paint have been in use for more than 40 years in the United States, the European Union and other high income countries. There is no good reason that lead paint continues to be sold,” said Dr. Sara Brosché, International Lead Paint Elimination Project Manager at IPEN, a global civil society network pursuing safe chemicals policies and practices.

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.

For immediate release

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.

IPEN has joined NGOs and colleagues in an open letter to the Ocean Conservancy about its report “Stemming the Tide.” The report promotes incineration in Asia as a supposed "solution" to the problem of ocean plastics.

en español

(Geneva) Delegates to the world’s only international forum addressing global and national chemical issues re-committed to take essential actions to fulfill a goal of sound chemicals management by 2020, but allowed the only program funding activities in the most impacted countries to expire. The USD $4 trillion/year chemical industry, which participates in the conference, also failed to offer new funds to pay their fair share for the costs of chemicals management and harm. A very small global levy on the industry of 0.1% would yield more than USD$4 billion/year.

“ICCM4 agreed to take action on some critical toxic chemical issues,” said Olga Speranskaya, Co-chair of  IPEN. “However, a five-year funding gap will make it extremely difficult to implement them. This makes the need for funding urgent. Governments, financial institutions, intergovernmental organizations and the chemical industry must each pay their fair share,” she added.

The true costs of the chemical industry's products include more than just the costs to produce them. The costs of illness and environmental devastation amount to over $1 trillion (USD) per year, paid for by the public rather than the chemical industry.

Watch IPEN's new 5-minute video, screened at the 4th International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM4), to see some of the people and places affected by the chemical industry's products and their externalized costs.

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