Nations around the world are convening in Nairobi, Kenya, to chart a global treaty on plastic pollution.
The third meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-3) at the United Nations Environment Programme offices has seen delegates from various sectors around the world come together in efforts to save the environment from toxic plastic pollution, health, and economies, with experts claiming that the costs of plastic pollution are not felt equally and that the unseen costs of plastic are up to eight times higher in low- and middle-income countries.
The 13th to 19th plastic pollution treaty negotiation meeting follows a cautious call for parents and guardians to be cautious of the chemicals they entrust to their children in the guise of plastic toys.
According to a press release from the Centre for Environment Justice and Development (CEJAD), a study on human cells found that young toddlers playing with recycled plastic toys are exposed to harmful chemicals at levels above the EU safety criteria for similar compounds.
Scientists discovered that harmful amounts of brominated dioxins did not evade Kenya and adjacent nations while testing toys and numerous everyday plastic goods from around the world.
The findings were deemed key, hence the push to have the findings influence the design of the new global plastic treaty.
The findings, using testing on human cells, show that typical mouthing behaviours of young children who play with recycled plastic toys could significantly contribute to their daily intake of highly toxic dioxin-like compounds and other endocrine disrupting chemicals. Dioxins are among the most hazardous toxins to children’s health, impairing cerebral development and thyroid hormone function.
Unfortunately, the study discovered dangerous substances, including chemicals that have been prohibited globally, in toys and other products created using recovered e-waste plastics (known as black plastics) acquired from 26 different nations in Africa, Asia, Europe, and America.
The findings, according to experts, are critical for the design of the new Plastics Treaty, which is the main topic of discussion at the third International Negotiations Committee Meeting in Nairobi, Kenya; recycling of plastics and toxic chemicals in recycled products is another critical element to be discussed at the ongoing meeting.
Furthermore, experts point out that plastics include harmful chemicals, and current research as well as previous studies show that these chemicals produce plastic material that is incompatible with circular economy concepts.
For example, a toy car sampled solely in Kenya and included in the global survey had the third highest amounts of both brominated dioxins (PBDD/Fs) and dioxin-like activity determined by Dr. Calux among 48 samples included in the global study. By mouthing, it would exceed the tolerated daily intake of dioxins for a 12-month-old child several times over.
“Our study, simulates the real impact of products made of plastic recycled from e waste on human cells by analyzing hormone-disrupting toxic activities. We were shocked to find that children could be exposed to significant amounts of highly toxic chemicals from recycled plastics, said Dr. Peter Behnisch from the Amsterdam laboratory BioDetection Systems, who is one of the lead authors of the study.
The study also looked at tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) levels in items, which is an endocrine disruptive chemical that has been linked to cancer and reproductive harm.
The findings, according to Gryphons Ochieng, Executive Director of Kenya’s Centre for Environment Justice and Development, also underscore the importance of tackling chemicals in plastics in the upcoming global plastics Treaty and avoiding a Treaty focused solely on the volume of plastic waste generated.
“We collected children’s toys, Kitchen utensils and products for women to determine first, the extent of contamination by toxics regulated by international treaties, and second, whether the treaties are strict enough to protect human health in Africa, unfortunately our results shows that the international treaties are not doing enough to protect our health, he said.
According to WWF X handle, plastic isn’t “cheap”-it comes at a significant cost for vulnerable communities and the world we call home; decision makers must act now to reduce pollution; “this must stop:According to a portion of the X posting, 93% of deaths caused by plastic pollution occur in low and middle income countries.
Plastics have a substantial carbon footprint throughout their lifecycle and contribute 3.4% of global greenhouse gas emissions. According to recent research, microscopic bits of plastic are constantly being lofted into the sky. The particles can travel thousands of kilometres and influence cloud formation, which means they have the ability to influence temperature, rainfall, and potentially climate change.
Source: Citizen Digital