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A Toxics-Free Future

Highlights Front Roll

IPEN Guide to New POPs
Low POPs Content Level Must Be Low
IPEN at the Basel-Rotterdam-Stockholm Conferences of the Parties
Toxic Recycling Must End

At UN chemicals meeting, political will clashes with narrow commercial interests

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Geneva: Governments at the Stockholm Convention 8th Conference of the Parties (COP8) agreed to add three toxic chemicals to the treaty, but granted extensive loopholes for two of them. The chemicals are DecaBDE, SCCPs, and HCBD.1 All three chemicals are persistent, highly toxic, travel long distances and build up in the food chain. Loopholes were granted for DecaBDE and SCCPs and recent IPEN studies found both substances in children’s toys.2 A small group of countries rejected proposals to at least label new products containing the substances. Countries and consumers concerned about contaminated products will have no information about their content.

“This is the beginning of the end for DecaBDE, SCCPs, and HCBD,” said Dr. Olga Speranskaya, IPEN Co-Chair. “We urge governments to move quickly to prohibit these substances and not prolong harm through the use of exemptions.”

(Geneva) – At the Stockholm Convention 8th Conference of the Parties (COP8), governments bowed to corporate influences in the listing decisions concerning two toxic chemicals under provisions of the treaty. Although delegates agreed to list the chemicals for global elimination, the decisions allow exemptions that extend industrial uses far into the future.

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Geneva: Today at the Stockholm Convention 8th Conference of the Parties (COP8), governments rushed thru decisions to list two toxic chemicals, but provided extraordinary loopholes that permit all uses of them. The chemicals are DecaBDE, a flame retardant commonly found in electronic waste, and SCCPs, an industrial chemical used in metal working and as a flame retardant in plastics.1 Both chemicals are persistent, highly toxic, travel long distances and build up in the food chain. Recent IPEN studies found both substances widely present in children’s toys.2

“Delegates made a mockery of the theme of the meeting, “A Future Detoxified,” said Dr. Mariann Lloyd-Smith, IPEN Sr. Advisor. “Today’s decisions guarantee harmful worker exposures, poisonous children’s toys, contaminated recycling streams, and more waste dumping. The real theme of the meeting seems to be “A Future De-Toxified.”

Geneva: Today, at the Stockholm Convention 8th Conference of the Parties, Chile and Canada surprised delegates by proposing to allow recycling materials containing a toxic flame retardant widely found in electronic waste (e-waste). The proposal violates the Stockholm Convention which explicitly prohibits recycling and reuse of substances on its list.

DecaBDE is used in the plastic casings of electronic products and if it is not removed, it is carried into new products when the plastic is recycled. Toxicity studies indicate potential adverse developmental, neurotoxic, and reproductive effects, and DecaBDE or its degradation products may also act as endocrine disruptors.

Ironically, a new IPEN study1 shows that the toxic recycling policy advocated by these countries widely contaminates children’s products. In fact, in Canada all sampled toys made of recycled plastic contained both OctaBDE and DecaBDE.

IPEN has released a Spring 2017 Catalog for its Toxic Toy Store booth at the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conferences of the Parties currently underway in Geneva, Switzerland. The exhibit booth highlights IPEN and Partner documents, and also displays toys from around the world that IPEN tested to determine potential toxic ingredients.

IPENers are participating in the Meetings of the Conferences of the Parties (COP) to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions taking place from 24 April - 5 May, 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland. Although the Stockholm Convention COP is IPEN’s main focus, IPEN will also participate in the Basel and Rotterdam Convention meetings.

This new report was prepared by IPEN to address a major source of POPs contamination of the environment that is often overlooked, underestimated or incorrectly classified in risk assessments, exposure scenarios and regulatory controls on waste. Ash and other residues from waste incineration contain dioxins, furans (PCDD/Fs) and a range of other highly toxic POPs at levels which are a threat to human health and the environment. Current management practices and regulatory threshold levels for POPs that contaminate incinerator residues are not preventing releases of POPs into agricultural settings, the food chain and the broader environment.

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