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Plastic Chemical Threats to Children’s Health & Development: Opportunities to Protect Children’s Health and their Future in the Plastics Treaty

April 16 , 9:00 am 10:30 am EDT

Many harmful chemicals are used during the production of plastics, either as building blocks of the plastic material itself or as additives to provide certain properties such as color or flexibility. Hazardous chemicals may also be present in plastics from contamination during production, such as styrene monomers, or formed during recycling, such as dioxins. These chemicals can leach into food, water, and the environment.

Microplastics are widespread contaminants of the environment today that both contain hazardous chemicals as part of the material but that can also adsorb, magnify, and spread environmental contaminants such as PCBs. Hazardous chemicals in plastics are a source of concern because many of the chemicals that leach from plastics are EDCs. These EDCs include bisphenols, alkylphenol ethoxylates, perfluorinated compounds, brominated flame retardants, phthalates, UV stabilizer, and metals. The leaching of these EDCs from plastics is of concern because they have been shown to cause abnormal reproductive, metabolic, thyroid, immune, and neurological function. This has led to numerous international scientific societies such as the Endocrine Society and health organizations to weigh in and it has contributed to science-based action on EDCs by many stakeholders including some governments, retailers, and manufacturers. However, more efforts are needed to protect people and the environment from potentially harmful EDCs in plastics.

Leading scientists from the Endocrine Society and the TENDR collective, joining the panel of this event, will present the latest science illustrating the impacts on children’s hormones and neurological systems from plastic chemicals. This event, taking place ahead of the fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment (INC-4), aims to provide a compelling argument for the protection of human health in the global plastics treaty.

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