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A Toxics-Free Future


Highlights Front Roll

New Report: The Arctic’s Plastic Crisis
Plastics Treaty INC-4
New Report: Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals: Threats to Human Health
6th United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA-6)
Chemical Recycling: A Dangerous Deception
See - our website on toxic plastics
Video: Plastics Poisoning Our Health

Press Release
Embargoed Release Embargo Lifts: 2022 Feb 15 at 0800 CET (UTC+1)
Attn: Environment and Global Health News
Björn Beeler, IPEN:

How plastics poison the circular economy:
Data from China, Indonesia, Russia and countries reveal plastics’ public health threats

(Report and Press Release)


Gothenburg, Sweden As governments prepare to discuss a global instrument to tackle plastic pollution, IPEN has published a number of studies showing significant obstacles for countries seeking to implement safe plastic circular economies. The studies reveal that countries are unable to handle large volumes of diverse plastics waste streams safely, and the reality that, without regulations requiring plastic ingredients to be labeled, countries are blindly allowing known toxic chemicals onto their markets in plastic products.

IPEN says the problem will only get worse based on current forecasts of huge growth in plastic and chemical production and use. It calls for public policies to end the recycling of hazardous chemicals in plastics, that poison the circular economy and threaten human health. IPEN says that plastics producers have dodged their responsibilities by producing plastic materials with toxic chemicals and should be financially liable for any harm caused through the life cycle of plastics.

IPEN studies reveal toxic plastic waste issues in China, Indonesia and Russia

To better understand the risks associated with plastics and the circular economy, IPEN investigated the situation in three significant global economies – China, Indonesia and Russia. It analyzed:

The X-Press Pearl shipwreck in Sri Lanka created a "new kind of oil spill"

Press Release
Embargoed Release Embargo Lifts: 2022 Feb 08 at 0200 CET (UTC+1)/6:30am Sri Lanka
Attn: Environment and Global Health News
Dr. Therese Karlsson, IPEN:
Mr. Hemantha Withanage, CEJ:
Ms. Chalani Rubesinghe, CEJ:, with questions

X-Press Pearl disaster study shows that stricter controls on chemical and plastic shipping are needed

(Report and Press Release)


Gothenburg, Sweden Risks associated with the transport of chemicals and plastics in ever-larger container ships need to be addressed, say the authors of the first public study into the impacts on people and the environment of toxic chemicals released during the largest plastic pellet spill on record.

The report, X-Press Pearl: a ‘new kind of oil spill’, a toxic mix of plastics and invisible chemicals, is published today by health and environmental advocates International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) and The Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ). It includes results of the groups’ analysis of plastic debris that washed up on Sri Lankan beaches, and testimonies from communities devastated by the pollution, following the loss of the X-Press Pearl, which sank off the port of Colombo in May 2021.

UV-328, Dechlorane Plus and MCCPs among chemicals included

Gothenburg, Sweden In a landmark decision, a U.N. expert committee decided, unanimously, that global action is needed for the toxic plastic additive UV-328. The evaluation provided clear evidence that this toxic substance is also persistent, bioaccumulative, and has spread to remote islands and the Arctic. It also showed that floating plastic debris in the ocean is an important contributing factor to this transport.

Last year, IPEN showed that UV-328 is found in beached and recycled plastic pellets collected in countries all over the world. In a recent research brief, IPEN also shows that it is present in toys, which is especially alarming due to its toxicity and endocrine effects.

UV-328 can cause damage to liver and kidneys in mammals. Studies have also shown that it has endocrine disrupting effects, as described further in a recent report on Plastics, EDCs & Health prepared by scientific experts in the Endocrine Society and IPEN.

IPEN Science and Technical Advisor Therese Karlsson said “This decision is a really important step forward. It clearly shows that plastics and chemicals go hand in hand and that plastics can transport chemicals to very remote locations. To prevent further harm to the environment and human health from toxic chemicals used in plastics, it is therefore crucial that toxic chemicals are not allowed in plastics.”

EcoWaste Coalition Discovers Excessive Lead Levels in 37 Imported Spray Paints, Urges Government Action to Protect Public Health

Quezon City, Philippines Paint products in aerosol cans containing shocking levels of lead are still offered for sale by offline and online retailers despite the ban on such paints, according to the toxics watchdog group EcoWaste Coalition.

IPEN, Arnika and 16 European NGOs call on leaders to lower threshold values for POPs in waste, which enter recycling and waste exports

The problem: the European Commission currently proposes industry friendly ‘middle-ground’ POP limits for waste based on economic criteria instead of strong and health-protective values.

The European Commission (EC) is proposing to adopt new limit values for persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in waste. The Stockholm Convention requires the destruction of wastes that exceed POPs limit values (known as Low POP Content Levels set by the Basel Convention) and bans the recycling of wastes contaminated with POPs to maintain toxic-free material cycles. However, the EC is proposing weak POP limits, which will allow plastic and other wastes contaminated with POPs to be, in practice, recycled by industry in the EU. The transition to high-quality and toxic-free material cycles cannot be achieved while allowing POPs recycling in materials.

IPEN, Arnika, and 16 NGOs urge in their letter to Members of the European Parliament and Member States to support stronger limit values for POPs in waste than what the EC proposes. The weak limits currently proposed by the EC undermine the Stockholm Convention and will lead to POPs recycling that is incompatible with the European Green Deal.

Health and environmental groups call for international action to control plastic chemicals, and the scaling down of plastics production, to curb growing crisis

Press Release
Embargoed until 9AM Beijing, China time 14 December 2021
Attn: Health, News,and Environment Editors
Björn Beeler, IPEN,

New global studies show health threats throughout the plastics supply chain

Health and environmental groups call for international action to control plastic chemicals, and the scaling down of plastics production, to curb growing crisis (Report and Press Release (English, Arabic, French, Russian, Spanish))


Gothenburg, Sweden Plastics pose significant threats to human health and ecosystems throughout their life cycles, according to two new studies by the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN). To get a global picture of the role plastics play in transporting toxic chemicals around the world, IPEN worked with International Pellet Watch (IPW) and its NGO partners in 35 countries to investigate hazardous chemicals and pollutants present in:

  • spilled or lost pre-production plastic pellets found on beaches; and
  • recycled plastic pellets purchased from recycling facilities.

Both studies reveal the presence of toxic chemical additives and pollutants that pose multiple health threats to humans and the environment. The health effects include causing cancer or changing hormone activity (known as endocrine disruption), which can lead to reproductive, growth, and cognitive impairment. Many of the toxic chemical additives have several other known health impacts, persist in the environment, and bioaccumulate in exposed organisms.

IPEN science and technical advisor, and lead author of the beach pellet study, Dr. Therese Karlsson says: “These new studies further support our recommendation that international action to create more sustainable uses of plastics needs to look beyond waste to address harm and damage related to the toxic chemical additives in plastics.”

Over 180,000 petitioners around the globe urge UN to support people's health not industry's wealth

Gothenburg, Sweden Today, civil society and indigenous peoples organizations delivered more than 187,300 petition signatures from over 107 countries to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General Qu Dongyu, demanding that the FAO end its partnership with CropLife International, an international lobbying association for the world’s largest agrochemical companies.


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