Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have received significant public and media attention in the US, EU, and Australia, in part due to their toxicity, extreme persistence, and documented water pollution. However, information about PFAS in other parts of the world is largely lacking and the information which is available is difficult to access.
Over the past few months, IPEN Participating Organizations in twelve Middle Eastern and Asian countries conducted surveys to explore possible PFAS uses and pollution sources, scientific studies and government actions, including under the Stockholm Convention. Countries covered include: Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Directly following IPEN's preparatory meeting for the Basel-Rotterdam-Stockholm (BRS) 2019 Conferences of the Parties (COP), IPEN convened a Women’s Caucus Meeting and Policy Skillshare in Geneva, Switzerland. The meeting was conducted as an informal round table conversation.
In 2017, an IPEN Women’s Caucus was established to provide a forum for planning, discussion, and engagement around gender issues. One of the three focus areas identified was to work on gender issues within the IPEN network, including creating opportunities for training and for women to share experiences.
New report includes new data on PFAS exposures to Australian Firefighters
Wednesday, 24 April 2019
(Göteborg, Sweden): Industry fire-safety experts from the oil and gas and aviation sectors are joining with firefighter trade unions to urge governments to protect human health and the environment with a global ban on the toxic chemical, PFOA, and to reject loopholes for its use in firefighting foams. The use of PFOA and other fluorinated organic compounds (PFAS) is widespread across many industrial and domestic applications including textiles, food packaging, stain and oil resistant treatments, and industrial processes.
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In the run-up to the Basel Convention's 14th Conference of the Parties (COP14), IPEN worked with Basel Action Network (BAN) to complete a "Quick Views" document that addresses some issues that will be discussed at tthe COP14. These include marine litter and microplastics; financial resources; compliance; e-waste guidelines; POPs waste; technical guidelines on incineration, engineered landfill, hazardous waste physico-chemical treatment and biological treatment; and more.
IPEN and BAN call for stronger controls in upcoming Conference to the Parties of the Basel and Stockholm Conventions
Monday, 22 April 2019
(Göteborg, Sweden): New research from IPEN and Basel Action Network (BAN) reveals dire human exposures and food chain contamination from highly toxic plastics in waste in Ghana that includes toxic e-waste shipped from Europe. Researchers have found the highest levels of brominated and chlorinated dioxins— some of the most hazardous chemicals on Earth— ever measured in free-range chicken eggs in Agbogbloshie, Ghana. The contamination results primarily from the breaking apart of discarded electronics (e-waste) and burning plastics to recover metals. Plastics from vehicle upholstery are also burned on the site and contribute to the contamination.
Researchers analyzed the eggs of free-range chickens that forage in the Agbogbloshie slum, home to an estimated 80,000 people who subsist primarily by retrieving and selling copper cable and other metals from e-waste. The process of smashing and burning the plastic casing and cables, to extract the metals, releases dangerous chemicals found within the plastics, such as brominated flame retardants, and creates highly toxic by-product chemicals like brominated and chlorinated dioxins and furans. The sampling of eggs revealed alarmingly high levels of some of the most hazardous and banned chemicals in the world, including dioxins, brominated dioxins, PCBs, PBDE and SCCPs.
As the 2019 Basel-Rotterdam-Stockholm Conventions Conferences of the Parties (BRS COPs) approaches, IPEN has dedicated the first of its 2019 bi-annual global newsletters to cover persistent organic pollutants (POPs).
In the newsletter, entitled "IPEN Working To Eliminate POPs On The Ground," IPEN Science Advisor Dr. Sara Brosché states, "Strong measures under the Stockholm, Basel and Rotterdam Conventions are crucial to stop the production and release of POPs and should be effectively implemented nationally. Hazardous waste limits should be protective and regrettable substitutions with related toxic chemicals prohibited.However, this is far from enough. Only 28 out of thousands of potential POPs are listed under the Stockholm Convention today and efforts need to be scaled up dramatically.”
This newsletter covers some work of IPEN Participating Organizations around the globe who have researched and/or monitored POPs in their countries. Topics include POPs Country Situation Reports, POPs in Community Food Chains, Toxic Recycling, Non-combustion Technologies for POPs Waste Destruction, Dicofol and PFOA, Sulfluramid, and POPs in Our Oceans.
In the run-up to the Stockholm Convention's 9th Conference of the Parties, IPEN has released its "Views of Stockholm Convention COP9." This document is a summary statement of IPEN views on issues that COP9 will be called upon to address, including POPs wastes, technical assistance and regional centres, rules of procedure, compliance, listing of dicofol and PFOA, illegal traffic, rules of procedure, evaluation of PFOS, and more.
The Views document can be read here and on IPEN's page for COP9, which has additional information about IPEN activities and publications related to the conference.