Plastics and food packaging contain chemical contaminants from manufacturing along with many additives to make them inflammable, more flexible, grease-resistant, or sterile, as well as other substances to create many other properties. Many of these additives are toxic and they leak from products during use and can be released during recycling and from recycled products.
Plastic Waste Poisons Indonesia's Food Chain reports on the high levels of dioxins being dumped into the environment and food networks as a result of plastic incineration — plastics which are being imported along with waste papers into Indonesia and other countries. Measured levels of dioxin in eggs rivals some of the worst polluted areas in human history.
This longer version of the report includes greater details on the measurements and methods used during the study.
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.
New studies by IPEN and the Basel Action Network (BAN) reveal how weak controls in international treaties allow developed countries to export e-waste to developing countries, leading to dangerous levels of POPs exposure, and resulting in food chain contamination. The key findings of this report are:
Incineration of medical waste and open burning of waste – including electronic waste – are potentially large sources of toxic chemicals known as persistent organic pollutants (POPs). These substances are slated for global reduction and elimination under the Stockholm Convention.
Eggs have been found to be sensitive indicators of persistent organic pollutant (POP) contamination in soils or dust and are an important exposure pathway from soil pollution to humans, and eggs from contaminated areas can readily lead to exposures with exceeding thresholds for the protection of human health (Van Eijkeren, Zeilmaker et al. 2006, Hoogenboom, ten Dam et al. 2014, Piskorska-Pliszczynska, Mikolajczyk et al. 2014).