Eggs from chickens that forage around waste yards and plastic burning sites are a risk as they have been found to contain high levels of persistent organic pollutants (POPs).
Studies carried out in Kenya and Tanzania found high levels of POPs in the eggs from such chickens, pointing to an environment polluted with chemicals, including banned and current-use plastic additives and chemicals created from burning plastics.
The study, “Plastic waste poisons the food chain in Kenya and Tanzania” was done to monitor persistent organic contaminants for human health and food.
In Kenya, the study was done with eggs produced by hens in the vicinity of a school community cooker in Mirema, Nairobi, that burns plastic waste for fuel. In Tanzania, it was carried out with free-range chicken eggs at households in Pugu Kinyamwezi located next to a large municipal solid waste dumpsite on the south-western edge of Dar es Salaam.
The study spearheaded by IPEN and local environment watchdogs — Centre for Environmental Justice and Development (CEJAD) in Kenya and Agenda for Environment and Responsible Development (Agenda) in Tanzania — found the eggs contained dioxins and POPs like brominated flame retardants.
New research from a network of anti-toxin NGOs and research centers in Europe, Africa, and Australia has indicated that people living or working around waste combustion sites, in cities in Ghana and Cameroon, are massively exposed to brominated dioxins, chlorinated dioxins, and other persistent organic pollutants (POPs).
This brief overview of work by Arnika and IPEN calls into question whether the "Dirty Dozen" chemicals listed in the Stockholm Convention are adequately addressed, and whether sufficient safeguards against the toxic impacts of these POPs exist for human health and the environment. The report includes a list of test results over an 18 year period.