FIGO Pushes Against Toxic Environmental Chemicals and Champions Environmental Justice


“Exposure to toxic environmental chemicals during pregnancy and breastfeeding is ubiquitous and is a threat to healthy human reproduction.”

That’s a pretty direct and bold statement. It is also a statement that outlines the stance of the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) in a report recently published in the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics. Suffice it to say it is not sugar coated.

The report, titled “International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics opinion on reproductive health impacts of exposure to toxic environmental chemicals” and authored by experts from the US, UK and Canada, makes a strong argument that prenatal exposures to toxic chemicals in the environment such as pesticides, plastics and metals are strongly related to health problems that develop throughout the lifespan of affected individuals. This means that problems like fertility issues, stillbirths, miscarriages, cancer, and attention problems are all strongly associated with exposure to unwanted chemicals during gestation and early child development.

This information is nothing new – the literature on the topic of cumulative chemical exposures during childhood development is comprehensive. But it is a new and powerful statement coming from an organization that is the leading global voice of reproductive health professionals in over 125 countries/territories.

Gian Carlo Di Renzo, leading author of the report, put it quite eloquently: “We are drowning our world in untested and unsafe chemicals and the price we are paying in terms of our reproductive health is of serious concern”. These chemicals account for tremendous losses. According to the report, ambient and household air pollution results in at least 7 million deaths a year, costs of pesticide poisoning in the Sub-Saharan region are estimated to be $66 billion, costs attributable to exposure to only a select few endocrine-disrupting chemicals was conservatively estimated to be on average €157 billion per year… the statistics go on an on.

FIGO takes a strong stance against toxic chemicals, offering health professionals four recommendations: “advocate for policies to prevent exposure to toxic environmental chemicals, work to ensure a healthy food system for all, make environmental health part of health care, and champion environmental justice.” These suggestions are in line with CHEJ’s mission and vision, and we congratulate FIGO for developing and actively pursuing this policy stance

Phthalate baby

The End is Coming – Market for Phthalates Continues to Shrink


Last month, the nation’s third largest home improvement chain – Menards – agreed to phase out the use of phthalates in its vinyl flooring by the end of the year. In a statement in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Menards spokesperson Jeff Abbot said, “We are still aware of the phthalate concern and have been working diligently with our vendors to eliminate any flooring products that contain phthalates.” Menards, which follows the lead of Home Depot and Lowes, has roughly 285 stores in 14 states.

This announcement follows a report by the Health Building Network (HBN) that the world’s largest flooring manufacturers, Mohawk and Tarkett, are also phasing out the use of phthalate plasticizers. Rochelle Routman, VP of sustainability for Mohawk, told HBN that it “long ago” phased out the use of ortho-phthalates in all the vinyl floors that it manufacturers, and is working to eliminate them from third party manufactured floors. HBN reported in April that Tarkett, the world’s second largest flooring company, has phased out the intentional addition of phthalates to its flooring.

The decisions by these major retailers and by global manufacturing companies portends an end to the use of phthalates in consumer products. Consumers simply do not want to take risks, especially with their children, that they can avoid.

The August 2015 issue of Consumer Reports makes clear what parents should do if they have vinyl flooring in their home – regularly mop vinyl floors that contain phthalates and wash toddlers’ hands, especially if children crawl on the floors. Consumers Union tested 17 vinyl floors and found small amounts of phthalates on the surface layers – enough however to warrant action by parents. ”Although phthalate levels are very low, we recommend that parents of toddlers wet-mop often and wash those little hands after they’ve been crawling on a vinyl floor,” it reports. Frequent cleaning could help remove dust particles which are known to accumulate phthalates commonly used in these floorings.

Phthalates migrate from PVC, can accumulate in people’s bodies, and can cause developmental harm. Some phthalates are carcinogens.

Rather than worry about moping the floor and washing your children’s hands, most parents want nothing to do with vinyl flooring. The risks are too great and the market forces are following this lead.


EU Commission plans to restrict phthalates


The European Commission has notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) that it intends to restrict the phthalates DEHP, BBP, DBP and DiBP under the revised EU Directive on the restriction of hazardous substances (RoHS2) in electrical and electronic equipment (CW 7 February 2014).

Read More!

Chemical Exposures and Health Care Costs


A new economic analysis has concluded that exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals likely costs the European Union €157 billion ($209 billion U.S.) a year in actual health care expenses and lost earning potential, according to a new series of studies published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

A total of four papers were published (overview, neurobehavioralmale reproduction and obesity & diabetes) that focused on specific health conditions that can partly be attributed to endocrine-disrupting chemical (EDC) exposure. These included infertility and male reproductive dysfunction, birth defects, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and neurobehavioural and learning disorders. A team of eighteen researchers from eight countries led by Leonardo Trasande, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Environmental Medicine & Population Health at NYU Medical Center, were involved in this landmark initiative.

EDCs interfere with numerous hormone functions and are commonly found in thousands of household products including plastics made with vinyl, electronics, pesticides, and cosmetics.

The overview paper concluded that “EDC exposures in the EU are likely to contribute substantially to disease and dysfunction across the life course with costs in the hundreds of billions per year. These estimates represent only those EDCs with the highest probability of causation; a broader analysis would have produced greater estimates of burden of disease and costs.”

The papers were prepared in conjunction with an evaluation being done by the EU Commission of the economic impact to industry of regulating EDCs in Europe. According to the authors, “Our goal here is to estimate the health and economic benefit of regulating EDCs in Europe, based on current evidence.”

The expert panels put together for this analysis “achieved consensus for probable (20%) EDC causation for IQ loss and associated intellectual disability, autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, childhood obesity, adult obesity, adult diabetes, cryptorchidism, male infertility, and mortality associated with reduced T.”

“The analysis demonstrates just how staggering the cost of widespread endocrine-disrupting chemical exposure is to society,” said Leonardo Trasande, the lead author in a press statement released by the Endocrine Society. “This research crystalizes more than three decades of lab and population-based studies of endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the EU.”

The press release goes on to say:

In the EU, researchers found the biggest cost driver was loss of IQ and intellectual disabilities caused by prenatal exposure to pesticides containing organophosphates. The study estimated the harm done to unborn children costs society between €46.8 billion and €195 billion a year. About 13 million lost IQ points and 59,300 additional cases of intellectual disability per year can be attributed to organophosphate exposure.

“Adult obesity linked to phthalate exposure generated the second-highest total, with estimated costs of €15.6 billion a year.

“Our findings show that limiting exposure to the most common and hazardous endocrine-disrupting chemicals is likely to yield significant economic benefits,” said one of the study’s authors, Philippe Grandjean, MD, PhD, Professor of Environmental Medicine at the University of Southern Denmark and Adjunct Professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “This approach has the potential to inform decision-making in the environmental health arena. We are hoping to bring the latest endocrine science to the attention of policymakers as they weigh how to regulate these toxic chemicals.”

The impact of this paper is staggering. It should be a “wake up call” said Linda Birnbaum, Director of the U.S. National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences when asked about the results. It also provides more evidence that low level exposure to chemicals found in everyday household products is affecting the health of many people not just in the Europe, but worldwide.

PVC pipe

Global Polyvinyl Chloride Market Size, Market Share Competitive Scenario And Forecasts, 2012 To 2020


The global polyvinyl chloride (PVC) market is expected to register considerable growth owing to increasing demand for rigid PVC in applications such as tubes, pipes and fittings. Increasing construction spending in emerging markets such as Brazil, China and India is expected to fuel the market growth over the forecast period. Increasing application of PVC in automotive and medical devices may positively impact the market over the next six years. PVC is widely used to manufacture pipes, wires, sheets, films, cables and bottles which find application in various end-use industries such as building & construction, electrical & electronics, transportation and packaging. 

Over the last few years, the market has witnessed downturn in demand owing global recession of 2009 which impacted the growth of critical industries such as construction, transportation and electronics. Furthermore, the global recession had an impact on the prices of PVC which faltered due to low demand in major markets such as North America and Europe. Recovery of end-use industries in North America and Europe is expected have a positive impact on the market. Civil unrest in Middle East has hindered the crude oil prices which adversely affected feedstock prices. Fluctuating raw material prices have resulted in volatility in PVC prices. Rising environmental concerns regarding presence of phthalate plasticizers and low degradation rate of PVC pose threat to the market. However, increasing R&D for development of bio-based PVC is expected to hold opportunities for market participants. 

For more information please click on: 


Global PVC Floor Industry Report 2014


The report provides a basic overview of the industry including definitions, classifications, applications and industry chain structure. The PVC floor market analysis is provided for the international markets including development trends, competitive landscape analysis, and key regions development status.

Development policies and plans are also discussed and manufacturing processes and cost structures analyzed. PVC floor industry import/export consumption, supply and demand figures and cost price and production value gross margins are also provided. Get the full report here.


EU Parliament Building

European Union to Allow Ongoing use of DEHP


When it comes to green policies, toxic chemical law, and pretty much every other environmentally related topic, Europe is light years ahead of the United States. The European Union (EU) has been at the forefront of sustainable and environmentally friendly policies. However, that record now stands to be blemished by a poor decision regarding the use of a family of chemicals called phthalates.

EU Parliament Building

Phthalates are esters of phthalic acid that are used as plasticizers mainly in PVC plastics (Type 3), increasing their flexibility, transparency and durability. These chemicals have been associated with several health complications including breast cancer and hormone imbalances. As a result, the use of six particular phthalates, DEHP; BBP; DBP; DINP; DIDP; and DNOP, has been restricted to 0.01% by weight in children’s toys both in Europe and in the US.

However, the EU went a step further and during the past few years contemplated the complete phase-out of BBP, DEHP, DIBP and DBP, four of the most common phthalates in use, from every product on their market. This effort was led mainly by Danish Environmental Protection Agency and Swedish Chemicals Agency. Their efforts led to the EU to task the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to evaluate phthalates (among other chemicals) and create a final recommendation on whether or not to enact a complete market ban on phthalates in consumer products. Large European plastic companies, such as Arkema (France), ZAK (Poland) and Deza (Czech Republic), replied with ferocious intensity – demanding that ECHA maintains the status quo. This political battle has intensified in the past months.

Now, the EU set a deadline of February 21 for it’s final ruling on the four phthalates. Two of them, BBP and DIBP, received relatively little backing from the industry and will be phased out completely by the February date. However, DEHP was defended staunchly and the industry pressured ECHA to recommend the continued authorization of DEHP. The proposal by ECHA is to grant certain manufacturers four years for ongoing use of DEHP in PVC production and twelve years for ongoing recycling of PVC.

The final decision on whether or not DEHP will be banned now rests with the European Commission (EC) who has 3 months to take a position. Environmental NGO’s and certain government agencies are working hard to convince the EC to see ECHA’s recommendation as completely not objective and as the result of pressure from the plastic industry. The EU has historically made the right decision when special interests conflicted with the public’s safety. Let’s hope they maintain their good record.

PVC pipe

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) – 2014 Global Strategic Business Report


Global market for Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) is poised to grow at a steady pace driven by improving global economic climate and increased demand for strong, durable and lightweight materials in industries such as electrical, construction, packaging, and automotive. 

The construction industry will continue to be the largest end-use market for PVC, backed by large scale urbanization and increased government focus on developing public infrastructure such as transportation, communication, power, water, and sewage, in emerging countries such as China and India. Urbanization and consumerism are mega growth drivers fuelling PVC consumption in developing countries. With urbanization rate in China still below 50%, the domestic construction sector is a major demand repository for PVC in Asia. 

For more information please click on: 

PVC pipe

Residents Sue National Pipe (PVC) NY


Nearly 50 Endicott, NY residents have banded together in a lawsuit filed last week against National Pipe & Plastics, accusing the manufacturer of having “devastated the neighborhood” where it opened a new plant earlier this year.  The lawsuit claims noise and odors wafting from the polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe manufacturing plant at 15 Mills Ave. have created an “ongoing public nuisance” to residents of the West Endicott neighborhood.

Read more.

Human exposure to BPA can come from water bottles and food containers.

EPA Adds 23 Chemicals, Including BPA, to Key List for Scrutiny, Possible Action


On October 23rd, the EPA added 23 chemicals, including BPA, seven phthalates and two flame retardants to a key list of chemicals that may be subject to stricter regulation.

Human exposure to BPA can come from water bottles and food containers.

The chemicals on this list all have properties that make them particularly hazardous, whether they are used in children’s products, have been linked to cancer, or are particularly environmentally persistent.

The EPA also removed 15 chemicals from the list.

Read the full story at Bloomberg News.