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IPEN

A Toxics-Free Future

IPEN has prepared "Quick Views" documents for the following SAICM regional meetings:

These documents highlight IPEN views on SAICM Beyond 2020 issues such as vision, policy principles, objectives and milestones, governance, high-level political commitment and financing. The document also follows IPEN comments that were provided to Brazil and Canada, the Co-Chairs of SAICM's "Beyond 2020" intersessional process. 

Updates about IPEN's work during the SAICM regional meetings will be posted here. Additional IPEN policy papers relevant to the Beyond 2020 process can be found here, and IPEN's activities during the 1st Meeting of the Intersessional Process for SAICM Beyond 2020 that took place in Brazil in February, 2017 are detailed here.

The Czech environmental group Arnika is ringing alarm bells. According to the results of a recent study it conducted, some children’s toys and grooming accessories, such as hair brushes, sold in the EU contain toxic substances. Arnika’s Karolína Brabcová says this is an unfortunate side product of the drive to promote plastics recycling.

Listen on Czech Radio: http://www.radio.cz/en/section/panorama/the-downside-of-plastics-recycli...

Business and Human Rights Resource Centre published the CGFED/ IPEN response to Samsung's comments about the report released in December 2017 revealing working conditions in Samsung manufacturing facilities in Vietnam. 

"We are writing to respond to Samsung's criticisms of our recent study on working conditions at the company's mobile phone factories in Vietnam... In Vietnam and abroad, Samsung has been actively attempting to suppress and discredit this study that documents a number of concerning health and safety violations... However, none of Samsung's efforts can erase the evidence that Samsung has violated Vietnamese labour law and failed to honour its business obligations on human rights...

Our study and the company's reaction to it revealed several findings that are inconsistent with Samsung's obligations under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights including complying with national laws, providing a safe and healthy working environment, protecting the family unit, right to form independent trade unions, and freedom of expression...

Read and download the full press release here. 

IPEN Participating Organization Center for Public Health and Environmental Development (CEPHED) played a significant role in securing a new lead paint standard.

The Supreme Court of Nepal has rejected a writ, filed by Nepal Paint Manufacturers Associations (NMPA) and other paint industry allies, which sought to nulify a mandatory standard for lead in paint enacted three years ago by the Government of Nepal. The law, which took effect in June, 2015, also requires companies to print the lead content of the paint and a precautionary message on paint can labels."

This is a victory for Nepalese children, who will now be protected from lead exposure in their homes, schools and parks, where heavily leaded paints are commonly used. Effective implementation of the law by all concerned government agencies will ensure that children in Nepal have the opportunity to grow and reach their full intellectual potential. We urge all involved in the paint industry to follow the law and produce paints that meet the country's mandatory lead paint standard of 90 ppm; label their products appropriately; and include a precautionary message on each paint can," said Mr. Ram Charitra Sah, Executive Director and Environment Scientist, Center for Public Health and Environmental Development (CEPHED).

Read the executive summary of the report in English

No HazMat for the Holidays:
Children’s Toys and Hair Accessories on the EU Market Contain Toxic Chemicals

(Gotebörg, Sweden) Dangerous levels of toxic industrial chemicals have been found in children’s toys and hair accessories sold in the EU. The Stockholm Convention , a global, legally-binding chemical treaty, allows PBDEs — toxins that are so dangerous they are banned from new production — to enter the recycling stream and end up in the toys in children’s hands. The circular economy, say environmental health researchers, is contaminated by dangerous flame retardant chemicals.

Researchers from Arnika , an environmental health research NGO in the Czech Republic, tested a total of 41 products (16 children’s toys and 31 grooming and hair accessories) for brominated flame retardants, a class of chemicals associated with impacts on nervous system development, thyroid disruption, memory and learning problems, lower IQ, reduced fertility, and other impacts.

Signature Campaign and BBC Coverage

Leading advocates from human rights, labor rights, women’s rights, public health, environmental justice, and sustainable purchasing organizations from around the world are calling on Samsung to protect the thousands of workers - most of them women of child-bearing age - who are making their mobile phones at factories in Vietnam. A report from the Hanoi-based, gender equity NGO Research Center for Gender, Family and Environment in Development (CGFED) and IPEN identified numerous health and labor violations from interviews with 45 women who work at two of Samsung’s factories in Vietnam. Please sign and invite your network to join the signature campaign on Change.org .

BBC covered the release of the CGFED/IPEN report on 15 December, in which the news outlet highlighted report findings, including workers' experiences of extreme fatigue, fainting and dizziness at work, and many accounts of miscarriage. In response, deputy general manager of Samsung Electronics Vietnam, Bang Hyun Woo said,"This report does not have a scientific basis." He also said much of the content in the report was "false" and "arbitrary."

IPEN requests Samsung "transparently publishes a complete list of chemicals used at the manufacturing facilities and describes the control."

See BBC's coverage here.

Read Ms Magazine's coverage of the story: Exploited and Endangered: Female factory Workers in Vietnam Open Up About Their Work Conditions.

READ THE FULL REPORT

New Study Reveals Dangerous Mercury Levels among Delegates at Minamata Mercury Convention COP1, with the Highest Levels in Delegates from Small Island Developing States.

Read the Press Release here 

Evidence that the neurotoxic metal mercury poses a global health threat to all was underscored today in a new study analyzing the mercury body burdens among delegates of a global conference of the world’s first mercury treaty. The study detected mercury levels above health alert thresholds in over half of the global policy decision-makers tested at the first Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention.

Researchers concluded that even global policy-makers who are educated about mercury risks are not protected from mercury contamination. The findings revealed mercury in all participants and elevated mercury levels exceeding the US EPA health advisory level of 1 ppm. Levels many times higher were identified in delegates from a number of regions. Mercury, while harmful to adults, causes the greatest damage to the developing nervous systems of fetuses in utero.

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