Working for a Toxics-Free Future: International Efforts to Protect the Arctic from the World’s Most Dangerous Chemicals

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CHE-Alaska Teleconference: Recorded November 19, 2014

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About the Call:

An international panel of experts met October 27-30, 2014 in Rome to review chemicals being considered for a worldwide ban under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), the global treaty that banned such chemicals as DDT and PCBs. At this meeting, the scientific review committee made the important decision to advance the following chemicals towards a global ban: pentachlorophenol (PCP) (used as a wood preservative in utility poles), decabromodiphenyl ether (used as a flame retardant in plastics and electronics) and difocol (an organochlorine pesticide chemically related to DDT). PCP, deca, and difocol travel long distances on air and ocean currents, persist in the environment and are known endocrine disruptors. All three chemicals are extremely harmful to human health and can be found in the breast milk and blood serum of people around the world, including Indigenous peoples of the Arctic. On this call we have a discussion with international observers Marian Lloyd-Smith and Pamela K. Miller hearing about the outcomes of the meeting and next steps for assuring a worldwide ban of these harmful chemicals.

Speakers:

Mariann Lloyd-Smith is Senior Advisor to the National Toxics Network and to IPEN, a global network aiming to eliminate persistent toxic pollutants. Mariann gained her PhD from the Faculty of Law at the University of Technology (UTS), Sydney. Trained as a negotiator in chemical disputes, she has assisted residents with their negotiations over contaminated land and has participated in the international negotiating committees (INCs) for the Stockholm, Rotterdam and Basel Conventions and the Strategic Approach to International Chemical Management (SAICM). Dr Lloyd-Smith, coauthored the NTN report on the chemical impacts of unconventional gas (UG), presenting the findings to governments, communities and industry across Australia, UK and Europe. She is chair of the international working group on UG chemicals and was a member of the UN Expert Group on Climate Change and Chemicals.

Pamela K. Miller is Founder and Executive Director, Alaska Community Action on Toxics.  Read full bio.