A brief overview of the history of Toxisphera

Over the years, Toxisphera has dedicated itself to the advocacy of fundamental rights to a healthy environment through its participation in national instances (National Commission on Chemical Safety – CONASQ; National Environment Council – CONAMA) and international processes related to the negotiations of chemical conventions (Stockholm, Minamata, Rotterdam, Basel) and SAICM, in partnership with other Brazilian NGOs, such as ACPO – Association for the Fight against Pollutants and APROMAC – Environment Protection Association. It also participates in networks and alliances of national and international civil society organizations. With support from the Fundo Casa, it prepared four representations to the MPF on irregular emissions of mercury in chlor-alkali plants. Executed several projects in Brazil with support from ZMWG Zero Mercury Working Group, and IPEN International Pollution Elimination Network.

Toxisphera participated, as a representative of FBOMS – Brazilian Forum of NGOs and Social Movements for Environment and Sustainable Development, in CONASQ – National Commission on Chemical Safety, created in 2000, and extinguished by President Bolsonaro in 2019.  Among its competencies, CONASQ monitored the negotiation, ratification and implementation of international chemical treaties and was composed of 22 institutions from the public and private sectors and non-governmental organisations, including CUT (Workers’ Unions Confederation). From the point of view of transparency, governance and dialogue on public policies, CONASQ was an active mechanism of multisectoral coordination for the promotion of the adequate management of chemicals in Brazil.

As a member of CONASQ, Toxisphera participated in the Working Group “Regulation of Chemicals”, in a process that included 16 meetings and a public consultation between 30 June and 28 September 2016, and draw up a draft bill for the Control of Chemical Substances in Brazil. The draft bill has not yet been approved but has received support from representatives of the chemical industry sector, environmentalists, and workers (through, respectively, ABIQUIM – Brazilian Chemical Industry Association, Toxisphera on behalf of FBOMS – Brazilian Forum of NGOs and Social Movements for Environment and Development, and CUT – Workers’ Unions Confederation.

Among the various projects carried out by TOXISPHERA, there are the analysis of lead in paints in Brazil; technical opinions by Civil Society for CONAMA resolutions; research and reports on emissions and releases of mercury, actions for the banning of products containing mercury, publication of the Legal Framework of Mercury in Brazil, report on mercury emissions at four chlor-alkali plants, contribution to the global report on illicit trafficking of pesticides, active participation in negotiations of the international treaty on mercury (Minamata) Stockholm, Basel and Rotterdam Conventions, and the intersessional process of SAICM for 2030.

During the Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Meeting of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), held in Montevideo, Uruguay, in May 2022, civil society organisations (CSOs) from Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay announced the formation of an alliance to protect the environment and public health in Latin America, with TOXISPHERA (Brazil), Taller Ecologista (Argentina) and CIEDUR (Uruguay) at its core. The Alliance aims to ensure transparent, effective, science-based and fundamental rights-based management of chemicals and waste.  The Citizens’ Alliance for a Latin American Toxic-Free Environment initially seeks to learn about the SAICM implementation in each country in the region and to broaden the engagement of civil society groups in the democratic governance of SAICM in the region. To this end, under the coordination of TOXISPHERA, these organizations conducted research on the institutional and legal landscape and challenges of SAICM implementation in Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay in 2021. The research generated National Reports on the institutional and legal panoramas in these three countries, and a Regional Synthesis Report, available in our library.