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Showing posts sorted by relevance for query toxic. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query toxic. Sort by date Show all posts

Monday, March 29, 2021

Rubio, Gillibrand Introduce Landmark Burn Pits Legislation to Help Veterans

U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced the bipartisan and bicameral Presumptive Benefits for War Fighters Exposed to Burn Pits and Other Toxins Act. U.S. Representatives Raul Ruiz, M.D (D-CA) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) will introduce the legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives. This bill would provide presumptive U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs benefits to servicemembers who have deployed and have illnesses due to exposure to burn pits and other toxins. Approximately 3.5 million veterans have been exposed to burn pits that spewed toxic fumes and carcinogens into the air.

Friday, June 17, 2022

Burn Pit Benefits: The US Senate Passed The Pact Act

The burn pit benefit bill now heads back to the US House of Representatives before going to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law; The PACT Act is named in honor of Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson of Ohio.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

New Testing Reveals Hidden Dangerous Chemicals in Popular Halloween Costumes and "Trick or Treat" Bags

Study Finds Costumes and Party Supplies Sold by Top Retailers Contain Hazardous Additives

(Ann Arbor, MI) -- A study released today by the Ecology Center's HealthyStuff.org project has found elevated levels of toxic chemicals in popular Halloween costumes, accessories and party supplies. The nonprofit Ecology Center tested 106 Halloween products for substances linked to asthma, birth defects, learning disabilities, reproductive problems, liver toxicity and cancer. The products were purchased from top national retailers including CVS, Kroger, Party City, Target, Walmart, and Walgreens.
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"We found that seasonal products, like thousands of other products we have tested, are full of dangerous chemicals," said Jeff Gearhart, HealthyStuff.org research director. "Poorly regulated toxic chemicals consistently show up in seasonal products. Hazardous chemicals in consumer products pose unnecessary and avoidable health hazards to children, consumers, communities, workers and our environment."
HealthyStuff.org tested Halloween products for chemicals based on their toxicity or tendency to build up in people and the environment. These chemicals include lead, bromine (brominated flame retardants), chlorine (vinyl/PVC plastic), phthalates, arsenic, and tin (organotins).
Some products contained multiple chemical hazards, including a Toddler Batman Muscle Costume whose belt contained 29% regulated phthalates, 340 ppm tin, and lead in the lining of the mask at 120 ppm. Overall, 39% of the vinyl products contained tin at levels suggesting organotin stabilizers, which are endocrine disruptors and can damage the developing brain and immune system.
“As a mom, I was disturbed to learn that some products children will be using for Halloween tested positive for toxic chemicals,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (New York). “Testing of these products is a step in the right direction, but much more needs to be done to better inform consumers so that we are keeping our families safe. I will continue to advocate for legislation in Congress to ensure that my sons and millions of other children are not exposed to toxic chemicals.”
Exposure to toxic chemicals is cumulative and comes from many sources, including diet, air, dust and direct contact with products. Moreover, chemicals being released from products throughout their life cycle are increasingly being recognized as important sources of exposure. In conjunction with the release, advocates with the Mind the Store campaign launched a new national online petition to major retailers calling on them to eliminate these hazardous chemicals in consumer products such as Halloween costumes and accessories.
"Our nation's biggest retailers have a responsibility to their customers to sell safe products, especially when it comes to our children," said Mike Schade, Mind the Store Campaign Director for Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families. "Their considerable market share gives them the power and the responsibility to demand safer chemicals and products from their suppliers. This new testing underscores the need for big retailers to ensure products on their shelves, such as Halloween costumes, don't contain toxic chemicals."
The Mind the Store Campaign, coordinated by Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, is challenging the nation's top ten US retailers to get tough on toxic chemicals. Chemicals highlighted in the new HealthyStuff.org Halloween study are on the Hazardous 100+ list of dangerous chemicals, which advocates have been calling for retailers to disclose, eliminate, and safely substitute. Over the past year, both Walmart and Target have made strides in launching new initiatives to disclose and limit the use of certain toxic chemicals.
The results of this study are available on the easy-to-use consumer website - www.HealthyStuff.org and build on recent HealthyStuff studies on back-to-school products, summer seasonal and beach products and university-themed products. The majority of these seasonal or specialty products contain one or more toxic chemicals. Due to the fact that many consumer products are largely unregulated, the items tested sometimes have levels of toxic chemicals that exceed the regulated levels set for children's products and toys.
In addition to finding many products with chemical hazards, HealthyStuff.org test data shows that many Halloween products do not contain dangerous substances, proving that safer products can be made. For example, the results show shifts in some products away from hazardous phthalate plasticizers to less hazardous non-phthalate plasticizers. The represents a market shift in the face of growing consumer and regulatory pressure.
Highlights of findings from HealthyStuff.org's Halloween product study:
  • Thirty-three of the 106 tested Halloween products contained polyvinyl chloride (vinyl or PVC) components.
  • Seventeen of the vinyl products were tested for phthalate plasticizers. Of these, two items contained phthalates that were recently banned by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in children's products. One of these was a Toddler Batman Muscle Costume purchased at Walmart. In the costume's yellow belt, HealthyStuff.org measured 29% regulated phthalates (290,000 ppm) and 340 ppm tin. Lead was detected in the mask inner lining at 120 ppm. Overall, five percent of all products were measured to have lead exceeding 100 ppm.
  • The study also documented an ongoing shift away from phthalate plasticizers in flexible vinyl products. Tests showed that fifteen of the vinyl items tested were plasticized with the less toxic chemical DOTP.
  • Ten percent of the products contained levels of bromine consistent with brominated flame retardants. Two Disney-themed Trick-or-Treat bags purchased at Kroger, for example, contained 28,000 ppm and 6,000 ppm bromine, respectively. Halloween light sets purchased at Walgreen's and CVS contained similarly high amounts of bromine.
  • Many of the products with brominated flame retardants also contained high levels of antimony, suggesting an antimony-based flame retardant was used in addition to the brominated chemicals.
  • Thirty-nine percent of the vinyl products, ranging from dress-up shoes to a skeleton "light stick," contained tin at levels suggesting organotin stabilizers. Vinyl products were twice as likely to contain tin as non-vinyl materials. Some forms of organotins are endocrine disruptors; other forms can impact the developing brain and damage the immune system.
To analyze the Halloween products, researchers used a High Definition X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) analyzer, Infrared Spectroscopy and laboratory testing. XRF is an accurate device that has been used by the Environmental Protection Agency to screen packaging, the Food & Drug Administration to screen food, and many State and County Health Departments to screen for residential lead paint. Additional samples were analyzed by laboratories using EPA test methods.
Complete product sample data, photos of products tested, and more information about what consumers can do is available now at www.HealthyStuff.org.
Non-Toxic Halloween Tips
  1. Contact your favorite retailer and ask them to sell non-toxic supplies.
  2. Avoid vinyl products: select cloth and natural materials for costumes and decorations.
  3. Make up and masks: Use paint and pencils made from clay or other natural ingredients, or make your own.
  4. Trick or Treating: use old pillowcases or reusable shopping bags
  5. Pumpkins: Roast and eat the seeds and compost the pumpkin when you're done.
  6. Decorations: Avoid plastics and instead use paper, cardboard, leaves or other natural and recyclable materials for your decorations.
More detailed tips available at HealthyStuff.org.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

OSHA: America Airlines Fined for Retaliating Against Worker Who Reported Hazardous Fumes in Cabin


Federal safety and health investigators have determined that one of the nation's largest airlines retaliated against flight attendants who reported worker illnesses caused by toxic fumes entering aircraft cabins.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Toxic Algae Are Not Done With Toledo. Not By a Long Stretch.

The potential for a mass catastrophic workers' compensation event arising out of a toxic algae is increasing. The run-off of fertilizers and other substances in addition to global warming may make containment difficult. Today's post was shared by Mother Jones and comes from www.motherjones.com



The algae bloom that swallowed parts of Lake Erie in 2011. Toledo sits near—and draws its water from—the lake's southwest region, where algae tends to accumulate. Image: MERIS/NASA, processed by NOAA/NOS/NCCOS
Last weekend, Toledo's 400,000 residents were sent scrambling for bottled water because the stuff from the tap had gone toxic—so toxic that city officials warned people against bathing their children or washing their dishes in it. The likely cause: a toxic blue-green algae bloom floated over the city's municipal water intake in Lake Erie. On Monday morning, the city called off the don't-drink-the-water warning, claiming that levels of the contaminant in the water had fallen back to safe levels. Is their nightmare over?
One expert said he could "almost guarantee" that the conditions that caused the crisis, i.e., a toxic bloom floating over the intake, would recur this summer.
I put the question to Jeffrey Reutter, director of the Stone Laboratory at Ohio State University and a researcher who monitors Lake Erie's annual algae blooms. He said he could "almost guarantee" that the conditions that caused the crisis, i.e., a toxic bloom floating over the intake, would recur this summer. But it's "pretty unlikely" that toxins will make it into the city's drinking water. That's because after the weekend's fiasco, a whole crew of public agencies, from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to the US Environmental Protection Agency...
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Sunday, December 29, 2019

Law Enacted to Phase-Out Use of Military Burn Pits

Recent legislation passed Congress and signed by the President last week mandates the  phase-out burn pits used by the United States military. The law provides for medical monitoring and health assessments of military members who have been exposed to toxic chemicals or airborne contaminants from burn pits. This legislation follows the dismissal, almost a year ago, of litigation against third-party contractors by service members, and their dependents, who became ill after alleged exposure to  the toxic fumes where burn pits were utilized in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Toxic-Tort: NJ Supreme Court Holds That an Employer Has a Duty to a Household Contact

"We hold that the Olivo duty of care may, in proper circumstances, extend beyond a spouse of a worker exposed to the toxin that is the basis for a take-home toxic-tort theory of liability." Justice LaVecchia, NJ Supreme Court

An employer's duty to a employee's household contact was the focus of decision announced by the NJ Supreme Court. The NJ Supreme Court reviewed the question, that was certified by the US Third Circuit Court of Appeals, to define the duty and its scope. The household contact, the finance, subsequently spouse, suffered beryllium related disease causally related to the employee's toxic exposure.

The case arose out of a household contact's exposure to beryllium brought home on the employee's cloths. At the time of the exposure, 30 years ago, the household contact was the fiance of the employee.

"The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit having certified to the Supreme Court the following question of law pursuant to Rule 2:12-1:And the Court having determined to accept the question as certified."Does the premises liability rule set forth in Olivo v. Owens-Illinois, Inc., 186 N.J. 394, 895 A.2d 1143 (2006), extend beyond providing a duty of care to the spouse of a person exposed to toxic substances on the landowner's premises, and, if so, what are the limits of that liability rule and the associated scope of duty?

SYLLABUS 
(This syllabus is not part of the opinion of the Court.  It has been prepared by the Office of the Clerk for the convenience of the reader.  It has been neither reviewed nor approved by the Supreme Court.  Please note that, in the interest of brevity, portions of any opinion may not have been summarized.) 
Brenda Ann Schwartz v. Accuratus Corporation (A-73-14) (076195) 
Argued April 25, 2016 -- Decided July 6, 2016 
LaVECCHIA, J., writing for a unanimous Court. 

In this appeal, the Court considers the following question of law certified by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit:  Does the premises liability rule set forth in Olivo v. Owens-Illinois, Inc., 186 N.J. 394 (2006) extend beyond providing a duty of care to the spouse of a person exposed to toxic substances on the landowner’s premises, and, if so, what are the limits on that liability rule and the associated scope of duty? 

The action before the Third Circuit involves plaintiffs Brenda Ann and Paul Schwartz.  After Brenda was diagnosed with chronic beryllium disease, the Schwartzes filed a complaint raising claims of negligence, products liability, and strict liability against defendant Accuratus Ceramic Corporation (Accuratus), a ceramics facility where Paul had worked in 1978 and 1979.  In 1979, Paul began sharing an apartment with an Accuratus co-worker, Gregory Altemose.  At the time, Paul and Brenda were dating and Brenda frequently visited and stayed overnight at the apartment.  After the couple married in June 1980, Brenda and Paul resided in the apartment, where Altemose also continued to live.  Brenda performed laundry and other chores at the apartment, both when she stayed with Paul prior to their marriage and after she moved in as Paul’s wife.   

The complaint alleges that employees at Accuratus’s facility were exposed to beryllium, which, according to plaintiffs, may result in cancer and other diseases of the lungs and skin.  Plaintiffs allege that Brenda was subjected to take-home beryllium exposure due to Paul and Altemose bringing the substance home from Accuratus on their work clothing.  Thus, plaintiffs’ take-home-toxin theory of liability is based in part on Brenda’s exposure to beryllium for the period that she frequently stayed over at the apartment prior to her marriage to Paul.  Additionally, the take-home-toxin theory encompasses the time period after the marriage, premised on the theory that Altemose continued to bring the substance home to the shared apartment from his work at the Accuratus facility. 
Originally filed in Pennsylvania state court, plaintiffs’ case was removed to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.  Plaintiffs’ motion to remand was denied.  The federal district court concluded that “neither [New Jersey nor Pennsylvania] has recognized a duty of an employer to protect a worker’s non-spouse . . . roommate from take-home exposure to a toxic substance.”  The court pointed to Olivo v. Owens-Illinois, Inc., 186 N.J. 394 (2006) as support for that proposition.  The court denied plaintiffs’ motion for reconsideration, commenting that to interpret Olivo as supporting a duty to Brenda would “stretch the New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision . . . beyond its tensile strength.”  After the Schwartzes filed an amended complaint, Accuratus filed a motion to dismiss, which was granted.  The federal district court concluded as a matter of law that Accuratus did not owe a duty of care to Brenda. 

Following additional motion practice, the Schwartzes filed a notice of appeal with the Third Circuit.  The Third Circuit filed a Petition for Certification of a Question of State Law, pursuant to Rule 2:12A-1, which the Court accepted.  222 N.J. 304 (2015). 

HELD:  The duty of care recognized in Olivo v. Owens-Illinois, Inc., 186 N.J. 394 (2006) may, in proper circumstances, extend beyond a spouse of a worker exposed to a workplace toxin that is the basis for a take-home toxic-tort theory of liability.  
1. The threshold question certified by the Third Circuit -- whether the premises liability rule set forth in Olivo may extend beyond providing a duty of care to the spouse of a person exposed to toxic substances on the landowner’s premises -- necessitates a review of Olivo and the reasoning that led to its holding.  In Olivo, the Court considered whether a landowner could be liable for injuries allegedly caused from asbestos exposure experienced by the wife of a worker who had performed welding and steam fitting tasks that brought him into contact with asbestos on the landowner’s premises.  There, the Court explained “whether a duty of care can be owed to one who is injured from a dangerous condition on the premises, to which the victim is exposed off-premises, devolves to a question of foreseeability of the risk of harm to that individual or identifiable class of individuals.”  Id. at 403.  Once foreseeability is established, a court must evaluate whether recognition of a duty accords with fairness, justness, and predictability, applying the following factors derived, in part, from Hopkins v. Fox & Lazo Realtors, 132 N.J. 426, 439 (1993):  (1) the relationship of the parties, namely the relationship between plaintiff and defendant; (2) the nature of the attendant risk, including the danger of the toxin at issue and how easily the toxin is transmitted and causes injury (the greater the danger, the greater the duty); (3) the opportunity and ability to exercise care; and (4) the public interest in the proposed solution.  (pp. 7-9)   

2. Based on the facts presented in Olivo’s summary judgment record, the Court determined that the landowner should have foreseen that sending unprotected, soiled work clothes home on the backs of workers would result in their clothes being laundered.  That placed the person, who could be expected to perform the task of handling and laundering the unprotected work clothing, in regular and close contact with material that had become infiltrated with asbestos in the worksite.  As a result, the Court held that a duty of care to protect on-site workers from exposure to friable asbestos in the worksite extended to spouses “handling the workers’ unprotected work clothing based on the foreseeable risk of exposure from asbestos borne home on [the workers’] contaminated clothing.”  Olivo, supra, 186 N.J. at 404-05 (emphasis added).  Applying the Hopkins factors, the Court concluded that fairness and justness would be served by extending off-premises liability in that setting.  (pp. 9-11)

3. In so holding, the Court determined that the landowner’s concerns about essentially limitless liability were unfounded because the duty recognized under the circumstances of Olivo was “focused on the particularized foreseeability of harm to plaintiff’s wife.”  Id. at 405.  That concise statement cannot be taken out of its context -- a duty was found to exist based on the foreseeability of regular and close contact with the contaminated material over an extended period of time.  Id. at 404-05.  The duty of care for take-home toxic-tort liability discussed in Olivo was not defined by the role of lawfully wedded spouse to someone who worked on the landowner’s premises.  Rather, it was foreseeable that Eleanor (plaintiff’s wife) would be handling and laundering the plaintiff’s soiled, asbestos-exposed clothes, which the landowner failed to protect at work and allowed to be taken home by workers.  That easily foreseeable, regular, and close contact with the dangerous condition produced the conclusion that the landowner could be held liable to Eleanor for her injuries.  (pp. 11-13)

4. Tort law is built on case-by-case development based on the facts presented by individual cases.  The evolution of case law must reflect the simultaneous evolution of societal values and public policy.  Olivo does not suggest that the duty recognized must remain static for all future cases -- no matter the pleadings and proofs, including unknown aspects of other toxins -- and that take-home toxic-tort liability must remain limited to a spouse handling take-home toxins.  Olivo does not state, explicitly or implicitly, that a duty of care for take-home toxic-tort liability cannot extend beyond a spouse.  Nor does it base liability on some definition of “household” member, or even on the basis of biological or familial relationships.  Olivo must be recognized as a step in the development of the common law, which of necessity is built case by case on individual factual circumstances.  (pp. 13-16)

5. The Court cannot define the contours of the duty owed to others in a take-home toxic-tort action through a certified question of law.  While there may be situations in which household members are in contact with toxins brought home on clothing, a refined analysis for particularized risk, foreseeability, and fairness requires a case-by-case assessment in toxic-tort settings.  Although the Court cannot predict the direction in which the common law will evolve, the Court identifies certain factors that will be important as such cases present themselves.  In sum, the duty of care recognized in Olivo may extend, in appropriate circumstances, to a plaintiff who is not a spouse.  The assessment should take into account a weighing of the factors identified herein to determine whether the foreseeability, fairness, and predictability concerns of Hopkins should lead to the conclusion that a duty of care should be recognized under common law.  (pp. 16-19)

CHIEF JUSTICE RABNER; JUSTICES ALBIN, PATTERSON, FERNANDEZ-VINA, and SOLOMON; and JUDGE CUFF (temporarily assigned) join in JUSTICE LaVECCHIA’s opinion. 

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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Burn Pit Legislation Signed into Law

President Biden signed legislation that will provide medical benefits from the Veterans Administration to service members exposed to toxic burn pits while deployed overseas in recent conflicts. The President signed the Sargent First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act. It embodies some of the goals we strived to achieve in the decades-long burn pit litigation project.

Monday, June 20, 2022

The Toxic Legacy of Ford Motor Company

The State of New Jersey is suing Ford Motor Company [FMC] for environmental pollution due to dumping its toxic waste in Ringwood, New Jersey. FMC operated a huge assembly plant in Mahwah, New Jersey, from 1955 through June 1980. 

Monday, May 28, 2018

US Burn Pit Legislation: Bipartisan Bill to Evaluate US Troops Exposure to Toxic Burn Pits

Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) and Brian Mast (FL-18), along with Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), hosted a press conference today urging their colleagues to support and pass the Burn Pits Accountability Act (H.R. 5671). The bipartisan legislation would evaluate the exposure of U.S. servicemembers to open burn pits and toxic airborne chemicals.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Limits for Toxic Plastics – No Asbestos Ban


Today, the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm United Nations Conventions concluded, with some major steps taken by parties to control the trade and management of certain toxic chemicals: 

Basel Convention: Countries Take Major Step to Control Plastic Waste Dumping, Stop Major Loophole for Electronic Waste
Today, 187 countries took a major step forward in curbing the plastic waste crisis by adding plastic to the Basel Convention, a treaty that controls the movement of hazardous waste from one country to another. The amendments, originally proposed by Norway, require exporters to obtain the consent of receiving countries before shipping most contaminated, mixed, or unrecyclable plastic waste, providing an important tool for countries in the Global South to stop the dumping of unwanted plastic waste into their country. The decision reflects a growing recognition around the world of the toxic impacts of plastic and the plastic waste trade.

Because the US is not a party to the Convention, the amendments adopted today also act as an export ban on unsorted, unclean, or contaminated plastic waste for the US towards developing countries who are parties to the Convention and not part of the OECD. The amendment will have a similar effect for the EU, a party to the Convention, whose own internal legislation bans exports of waste included under the Convention to developing countries.

“Today’s decision demonstrates that countries are finally catching up with the urgency and magnitude of the plastic pollution issue and shows what ambitious international leadership looks like,” says David Azoulay, Environmental Health Director at the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL). “Plastic pollution in general and plastic waste in particular remain a major threat to people and the planet, but we are encouraged by the decision of the Basel Convention as we look to the future bold decisions that will be needed to tackle plastic pollution at its roots, starting with reducing production.”
 
Countries halted a major loophole that would have allowed the continued export of electronic waste (e-waste), without proper controls. The proposed guidelines describing how e-waste is treated under the Basel Convention would have allowed countries to send equipment for repair without the prior informed consent procedure. The guidelines were ready for adoption, with wide support. The African region, India, and other countries, supported by civil society, raised a red flag about the inclusion of this loophole, and countries chose to continue negotiating the guidelines at the next COP, instead of adopting ineffective guidelines.
 
Countries established Low POPs Content Levels (LPCLs), which define the amount of POPs at which waste is considered hazardous waste. Under this designation, the waste must be disposed of in a way that destroys or irreversibly transforms its POPs content. LPCLs are key: Higher values mean that dangerous materials can, in practice, be recycled into everyday products, triggering further exposure to very toxic POPs. Mobilizing against very high values proposed by the EU, African countries and other recipient countries of waste managed to resist the extreme pressure from the EU and other developed countries, and obtained the inclusion of lower values together with the higher values proposed by the EU, opening the way for future work to lower the levels of POPs allowed in waste even further.
 
Parties considered a report on the role of the Basel Convention to regulate waste containing nanomaterials. It recommended the inclusion of certain nano-containing waste under the Basel Convention, and invited further work to identify those wastes that should be covered by the Convention. In a disappointing move, parties adopted a weak decision only requiring the collection of information on national initiatives to address nano-containing waste.

Stockholm Convention: Countries Pass Global Ban on Toxic PFOA
Parties to the Stockholm Convention passed a global ban of PFOA — a suspected carcinogen and endocrine disruptor that has contaminated drinking water in many parts of the world. The Stockholm Convention regulates persistent organic pollutants (POPs), some of the world’s worst chemicals that harm human health and build up in the environment and the body over time.

“While the global ban on PFOA marks an important step forward in protecting the environment and people’s health, we regret that countries undermined the scientific process of the Convention to include unjustified exemptions to the ban,” said Giulia Carlini, Staff Attorney at CIEL.

A number of wide-ranging five-year exemptions were included in the PFOA ban for firefighting foams, medical devices, and fluorinated polymers, among other uses. Though China, the European Union, and Iran participated in the scientific review process, they proposed exemptions that had not undergone scientific review or were reviewed and disqualified by the scientific committee.

“PFOA is one of the world’s worst chemicals, and yet countries have found ways to continue human exposure to its toxic harms. Tellingly, even some industry groups disagreed with some of the exemptions, as there are widely available alternatives to these chemicals,” says Carlini. “Countries’ insistence on including these exemptions — in spite of readily available alternatives and a lack of evidence — reveals a disrespect for the scientific review process at the heart of the Stockholm Convention.”

Rotterdam Convention: Countries Break 15 Years of Gridlock Using Voting Procedure for First Time Ever
In the first-ever vote taken under the Rotterdam Convention, 120 parties to the Stockholm Convention broke through gridlock and disagreement to establish a compliance mechanism for the Convention. The compliance mechanism will allow countries to be held accountable for not respecting their commitments under the Convention. After nearly 15 years of negotiations with little forward movement, countries decided that “all efforts to reach consensus had been exhausted” and opted instead to vote, for the first time in the history of the Convention. The adoption of the new mechanism through a vote means that only those parties in agreement to the provisions will be be subject to this mechanism. A total of 126 Parties voted, of which 120 agreed to the compliance mechanism and only six opposed.
 
Countries listed hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), a toxic chemical used as a flame retardant, and phorate, a pesticide that is extremely toxic to humans, under the Rotterdam Convention’s Annex III, meaning that countries must get the prior informed consent of receiving countries in order to export these chemicals.
 
Unfortunately, countries failed to take action on the five other chemicals up for listing under Annex III of the Convention. In particular, chrysotile asbestos and paraquat, which have been reviewed and identified as chemicals of concerns by the Scientific Chemical Review Committee of the Convention, and have been on the agenda for years. A handful of countries repeatedly blocked the consensus required to list these chemicals under the Convention, undermining the scientific process underlying the Convention.

See also:



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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman 1.973.696.7900jon@gelmans.com has been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.