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

May 5, 2022
12:00 pm US Eastern Time


A circular economy is a system where products are reused or the materials are recycled into new products. However, when it comes to plastics, reusing and recycling materials that contain toxic chemicals could cause increased exposure to these chemicals. The International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) carried out three studies on the presence of toxic chemicals in products from China, Indonesia, Russia, and other countries.

The studies looked at brominated flame retardants (BFR) and perfluoroalkyl and  polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in clothing. They also looked at bisphenol A (BPA) in baby bottles. Jitka Strakova and Vito Buonsante from the IPEN talked about the findings of the study and discussed the policy dimensions of the use of toxic chemicals in plastics, particularly in relation to the Global Plastic Treaty that countries agreed to negotiate in March 2022.

Featured Speaker

Vito A. Buonsante is an environmental lawyer and works as a policy advisor at the International Pollutants Elimination Netwok (IPEN) a global network of over 600 NGOs from 128 countries that fight for a future free from the impacts of toxic chemicals. Vito has over 17 years of experience working on drafting analysing and implementing chemical legislation in the European Union and Internationally. Before joining IPEN in 2020 Vito was a legal consultant for FAO’s work on pesticides law reform in Africa and worked on the implementation of the REACH Regulation in the EU with Client Earth. Vito was a member of IPEN’s delegation at UNEA5 that participated to the negotiations for the plastics treaty mandate. He lives in Hamilton, Canada and teaches Global Health at McMaster University.

Jitka Straková, is a global researcher at International Pollutants Elimination Netwok (IPEN), a global network forging a healthier world where people and the environment are no longer harmed by the production, use, and disposal of toxic chemicals. Since 15 year ago, Jitka worked as a volunteer, a local campaigner and later as a coordinator of international projects and as a research advisor in Arnika, Czech-based NGO. Jitka’s work is closely interlinked with IPEN’s Dioxins, PCB and Waste Working Group and involves conducting various studies on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in products, waste and the environment. Jitka authored several studies on POPs chemicals in products and co-authored monitoring reports on POPs pollution hot-spots around the globe.

 This webinar was moderated by Sarah Howard, Founder and Manager, DiabetesandEnvironment.org. It lasted for 45 minutes and was recorded for our call and webinar archive.