Preliminary Results of IPEN Global Egg Sampling Project for
Unintentional Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)

_ April 2005

_____________
_____________

Dear __________,

Subject: Preliminary Results of IPEN Global Egg Sampling Project for Unintentional Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).

Greetings of peace from ____ (name of your organization), a participating group of the International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN) – an international network of public interest non-governmental organizations that is working for the global elimination of POPs, on an expedited yet socially equitable basis.

We are writing to update you about some important new POPs data as we all prepare for the upcoming First Conference of the Parties of the Stockholm Convention (COP1) on 2-6 May 2005 in Uruguay. IPEN is conducting a global bio-monitoring of free-range chicken eggs for unintended byproduct POPs in 18 countries. Below are the results of the egg sampling conducted in Slovakia, Kenya, Czech Republic, Belarus, India, Tanzania, Senegal, Mexico, and Turkey (the results from other countries will follow).

The toxic substances measured in this study are slated for reduction and elimination by the Stockholm Convention. We view the Convention text as a promise to take the actions needed to protect individual countries and the global public’s health and environment from the injuries that are caused by POPs, a promise that was agreed by representatives of the global community: governments, interested stakeholders, and representatives of civil society.

We therefore call upon all Governments and stakeholders to honor the integrity of the Convention text and keep the promise of reduction and elimination of POPs.

Thank you very much for your kind attention and we look forward to the vigilant action by our Government to rid our society and the global environment of POPs.

Warmest regards.

Sincerely yours,

_______________ (your name and signature)
_______________ (organization)
_______________ (contact details)

Brief summary of the findings:

SLOVAKIA: Dioxin levels exceeded background levels by almost 10-fold and were almost three times higher than the European Union (EU) dioxin limit for eggs. Levels of PCBs exceeded proposed regulatory limits by more than two-fold. Finally, the eggs exceeded the newly proposed EU limit for HCB as a pesticide residue. The eggs were collected downwind of the Koshice municipal waste incinerator. A previous study conducted in 2001 found significant levels of dioxins in breast milk samples from women living downwind of the incinerator.

KENYA: Free-range chicken eggs collected near the Dandora dumpsite outside Nairobi showed high levels of dioxins and PCBs. Dioxin levels exceeded background levels by almost 18-fold and were more than six times higher than the European Union (EU) dioxin limit for eggs. Levels of PCBs exceeded proposed regulatory limits by more than four-fold. To our knowledge, this study represents the first data about POPs in chicken eggs from Kenya. The most obvious potential source of POPs releases at the site is the burning of chlorine-containing waste products such as commonly-found PVC plastics.

CZECH REPUBLIC – USTI NAD LABEM: Eggs collected in Usti nad Labem near Spolchemie, a chlorinate solvents manufacturing facility, showed high levels of hexachlorobenzene and elevated levels of dioxins. The hexachlorobenzene (HCB) level was 1.5-fold higher than the existing EU limit for this chemical residue and 2.5 times higher than newly proposed limit for HCB as a pesticide residue. Dioxin levels were two times higher than background levels. The highest observed levels of these chemicals were close to the European Union (EU) dioxin limit for eggs and nearly 1.5 times higher than the dioxin action level for eggs in the EU.

BELARUS: Free-range chicken eggs collected near the Bolshoi Trostenec dumpsite located outside Minsk showed high levels of PCBs and elevated levels of dioxins. PCBs levels expressed in WHO-TEQs exceeded background levels by more than 10-fold and were four times higher than the proposed European Union (EU) limit for eggs. Levels of dioxins exceeded EU regulatory limits for eggs by almost 1 pg WHO-TEQ/g. To our knowledge, this study represents the first data about POPs in chicken eggs from Belarus.

INDIA: Eggs collected near Queen Mary's Hospital in Uttar Pradesh showed high levels of dioxins and PCBs. Dioxin levels exceeded background levels by more than 16-fold and were five and half times higher than the European Union (EU) dioxin limit for eggs. Levels of PCBs exceeded proposed regulatory limits by 4.7-fold. To our knowledge, this study represents the first data about POPs in chicken eggs from India.

TANZANIA: The Vikuge obsolete pesticide site is one of the most contaminated DDT sites in the world. Eggs collected in Vikuge village and its surroundings showed elevated levels of dioxins and high levels of hexachlorobenzene (HCB). HCB levels were 2-fold higher than the newly proposed limit for HCB as a pesticide residue and were very close to the existing limit for this chemical in eggs. Dioxin levels exceeded background levels by almost 2.5-fold and were slightly higher than the European Union (EU) dioxin limit for eggs. To our knowledge, this study represents the first data about U-POPs in chicken eggs from Tanzania.

SENEGAL:
Free-range chicken eggs collected near the Mbeubeuss dumpsite in one of Dakar’s suburbs in Senegal showed very high levels of dioxins and elevated levels of PCBs. The dioxin levels in the eggs were more than 11 times higher than the existing European Union (EU) limit for these chemicals. The PCB levels in eggs were more than 1.7 times higher than the newly proposed EU limit for PCBs in eggs. The most obvious potential source of POPs releases at the site is chlorine-containing waste disposed at the Mbeubeuss dumpsite and uncontrolled burning of the chlorine-containing waste products such as commonly-found PVC plastics. The high levels of U-POPs represent a concern for wider contamination since the rubbish dump is located on one part of the Mbeubeuss lake bottom, parallel to the Atlantic coast.

MEXICO: Free-range chicken eggs collected in Coatzacoalcos showed high levels of dioxins (PCDD/Fs) and hexachlorobenzene and elevated levels of PCBs. The level of dioxins was 6-fold higher than the existing European Union (EU) limit for these chemicals and almost 19-fold higher than background levels. The hexachlorobenzene levels were also relatively high. In addition, the eggs exceeded the proposed EU limit for PCBs by 1.5-fold. Considering the dioxin congener pattern in the eggs dominated by 2,3,7,8 TeCDF and the prevailing winds going towards the south and southeast. the most obvious source of dioxins and other chemicals in the eggs is the Pajaritos petrochemical complex and its associated waste incinerators. To our knowledge, this study represents the first data about U-POPs in chicken eggs from Mexico.

TURKEY: Free-range chicken eggs collected near the Izaydas hazardous waste incinerator in Izmit (Turkey) showed levels of dioxins exceeding EU limits for chicken eggs and elevated levels of HCB. The dioxin levels in eggs exceeded background levels by almost 2-fold. HCB levels were five times higher than background levels. The most obvious potential source of POPs releases at the site is the waste incinerator burning different types of hazardous wastes. The incinerator has operated illegally or under a temporary permit for long time up until 2002. To our knowledge, this study represents the first data about U-POPs in chicken eggs from Turkey.



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