Batteries: Heavy metal content too high in some batteries, faulty labelling
Some batteries contain more heavy metals than is allowable. These are the results of a study done on behalf of UBA which analysed a sampling of 300 batteries and storage batteries. Nearly half of the tested zinc-coal round cells had excessive levels of cadmium. Half of the batteries also had none of the compulsory labelling of heavy metals content.
Global ban on flame retardant HBCD
A global ban on the production and use of the flame retardant hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) has been agreed by a UN chemicals conference. The substance is very toxic to aquatic life with long-lasting effects, persistent, accumulates in organisms and can be found in remote areas. HBCD will now fall under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. UBA will report about the actual implementation of the ban.
Non-native animal species in Antarctica
On behalf of UBA, the Senckenberg Museum of Natural Sciences Görlitz detected several non-native species of springtails (Collembola) and mites (Actinedida) in Antarctica. The cause of the problem: about 30,000 tourists and several thousands of scientists enter Antarctic soil every year and, thus, introduce soil organisms from other regions of the world in the fragile Antarctic ecosystem. The report advises how to prevent this in future.
Great benefits for health and economic benefits through active mobility
The greening of our mobility and transport systems is possible and beneficial to both individuals and the national economy. In addition to the positive effects for the environment and climate, people can save ready cash by travelling on foot, by bicycle and using local public transport and trains. Nearly every measure assessed results in higher economic output and employment!
Levels of DEHP intake in humans rather low
DEHP is the most common plasticiser worldwide. The problem is that the chemical can damage the reproductive organs and thus affect the reproductive capacity and development of the child in the mother's womb. A study by UBA investigated whether and how high the intake into the human body is. The main exposure path of the plasticiser DEHP is food. However, the total intake volume in nearly all parts of the population is quite low and does not in principle pose a health risk. Small children may have higher exposure to DEHP as they also ingest it through household dust and objects they put into their mouths. Yet even these amounts are low. For some people, however, it cannot be ruled out that their exposure exceeds levels which are above those tolerable for health. DEHP has therefore been banned in toys and cosmetics.
Environmental protection calls for thinking in global terms: UNEP Director pays visit to UBA
During a visit to UBA in Dessau on 23 April 2013, talks with UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner focussed on international environmental protection issues such as marine litter and the continual loss of fertile soils. The role of the UNEP after its upgraded status which was agreed at the Rio+20 summit in 2012 was also a topic of discussion. UBA President Jochen Flasbarth said, "Ultimately, we can only make progress in climate and soil protection, or in controlling the spread of harmful chemicals, through international agreements."
Saving CO2 through sustainably mobility planning – Cycling taps potential
It is becoming ever more evident that given the shortage of resources and energy reserves it will not be enough to design more efficient automobiles. Mobility patterns will also have to change if we are to achieve our climate protection goals. A study by UBA identifies how traffic-related emissions can be significantly reduced. By shifting traffic from the car to the bicycle, 40 million tonnes of CO2 can be saved every year.