Press Releases 2015

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The six most dangerous environmental toxins in the world in 2015

21.10.2015

 

Zurich/Switzerland – 21 October 2015 – The new Environmental Toxin Report 2015, published jointly by the Green Cross Switzerland environmental organisation and New York-based Pure Earth (formerly Blacksmith Institute) identifies the six most dangerous environmental toxins in the world. Ninety-five million people are at risk from these six toxins. Never before in the history of mankind have poor people been part of the population endangered by exceptionally high levels of toxin. Today, ecologically damaging toxins are found in populated areas in considerably higher quantities than ever before. Without taking appropriate countermeasures the number of people exposed to dangerous levels of pollutants will continue to rise.

 

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Schedule to decommission the damaged Fukushima reactors giving priority to the safe disposal of contaminated water

30.09.2015

 

During the Green Cross study trip to Japan, Prof. Jonathan M. Samet, Director of the Institute for Global Health at the University of Southern California (USC), will discuss the results of the 2015 Fukushima Report, which was prepared at the initiative of Green Cross Switzerland. Approximately 32 million people in Japan are exposed to radioactive fallout related to the nuclear disaster in Fukushima. These are individuals who were exposed to radiation or other stress factors resulting from the accident and are therefore at risk due to potential long-term and short-term effects of these exposures. Based on the calculations of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the total atmospheric release of radioactive material from the Fukushima nuclear disaster (iodine-131, cesium-134, cesium-137, and noble gases) was estimated to be less than 15 percent of the total radiation emitted by the nuclear accident in Chernobyl. However, the number of people affected by radiation in Japan has tripled compared to Chernobyl. According to the Fukushima Report, water leakage at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, in addition to the radioactive matthe ocean, continues to be problem four years after the accident.

 

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Coping with Agent Orange Contamination 40 Years after the Vietnam War

24.04.2015

 

During the Vietnam War, more than 72 million liters of the chemical defoliant Agent Orange were sprayed across the fields and forests of Vietnam as well as unknown quantities of it in rural areas in Laos and Cambodia. The people were directly exposed to the defoliant operations. Furthermore, additional contamination was most likely caused over the past 30 years through contact with former military bases (hot spots). According to investigations by the Vietnamese government and the study of Hatfield Consultants, Canada, hot spots are areas where the soil has very high TCDD contamination (tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin). Hot spots are found near former military bases where Agent Orange was transported, loaded onto planes and spilled. In the process, the soil was contaminated by the hazardous chemical in quantities that significantly exceeded those sprayed from the air. Dioxin also got into the food chain, especially via fish and other animals, and consequently into the human inhabitants.

 

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Green Cross Switzerland is urging the CWC member states to accept more responsibility for civilians in Syria and in Iraq.

16.04.2015

 

Modern chemical weapons have been produced and used in armed conflicts for the past 100 years. At the present time, it is the civilian population of Syria that is suffering from the detrimental impact of this. On 21 August 2013 the Ghouta residential area outside of Damascus was the target of a chemical weapons attack where an estimated 1400 civilians were killed and scores more were injured. In 2014, under pressure of the international community, the Syrian government agreed to the destruction of its chemical weapons arsenal under the supervision of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which oversees the adherence to the international Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). However, the civilian population in the Ghouta suburbs, which remain under siege to this day, did not receive any meaningful international aid.

 

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32 million people in Japan are exposed to radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

11.03.2015

 

The 2015 Fukushima Report provides information about the number of people in Japan who have been negatively impacted by the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. These are individuals who were exposed to radiation or other stress factors resulting from the accident and are consequently at potential risk from long-term and short-term consequences of these exposures. Based on these criteria, approximately 32 million people in Japan are affected by the radioactive fallout from the nuclear disaster in Fukushima.

As with the Chernobyl nuclear accident that impacted 10 million people, neuropsychological long-term health consequences are expected in Japan, in addition to cancer. The stress-related effects resulting from the evacuation and the subsequent relocation are of concern. The evacuation involved a total of over 400,000 individuals. Of these, 160,000 were relocated as a result of the accident in Fukushima. The number of deaths from the nuclear disaster attributed to stress, fatigue and hardship of living as evacuees is estimated to be around 1,700.

 

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Contamination is the major global health and environmental problem

28.01.2015

 

CH-Zurich, 28 January 2015 – Every year, around nine million people worldwide, most of them children, are dying as a result of environmental toxins. This is almost three times the number of fatalities caused by malaria and fourteen times more than caused by HIV/AIDS. Every year five million people lose their life in connection with climate change, significantly fewer than due to environmental toxins.

 

Sources of environmental toxins are underestimated global health risks

 

The fact that more than one out of seven deaths worldwide is related to environmental toxins, however, offers just a glimpse of the enormous consequential health and economic costs resulting from the contamination of human habitats. Approximately 200 million people are suffering from frequently irreparable injuries to the body, including the brain, due to the exposure to lead, mercury, chromium, pesticides and radionuclides in thousands of contaminated places. Regardless of this magnitude and the severe consequences for humans, only a fraction of the financial investments and actions is spent on environmental contamination compared to the three global infectious diseases, malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, and the two environmental problems spanning the globe, climate change and the extinction of species.

 

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Study Trips

12 November until 23 November 2017 – Over the course of 12 days, we’ll show you the highlights of Vietnam from North to South, accompanied by Maria Vitagliano, director of Green Cross Switzerland’s programme Social Medicine.

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