Safe Planet has organized a series of special media events – the United Nations Body Burden Forum – to introduce the campaign’s flagship human biomonitoring project. This project evidences the presence in human bodies of hazardous chemicals covered by the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, for instance persistent organic pollutants, pesticides and heavy metals.
The first UN Body Burden Forum, held in Bali, Indonesia, in February 2010 featured UN Messenger of Peace and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Professor Wangari Maathai and UN Under-Secretary General Jan Kubiš. Selected Campaign supporters committed to undertake the test of their chemical body burdens.
The second forum, known as the United Nations Champions Body Burden Forum, was held in New York at the 18th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development in May 2010, and featured American screen actor and eco-activist Ed Begley Jr. and Norwegian Olympic Gold Medalist Stine Lise Hattestad Bratsberg.
The third forum, the Safe Planet Campaign Body Burden Forum, was held in New York at the 19th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development in May 2011. Norwegian professional golf champion Suzann Pettersen underwent a biomonitoring test before she was introduced at the Safe Planet Forum by Stine.
Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are a group of chemicals that have been intentionally or unintentionally introduced and widely distributed in the environment. Due to their stability and fat solubility, they have a capacity to accumulate in many fat-containing foods as well as the human body where traces of POPs can be found in human milk.
The Global Monitoring Plan (GMP) under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants is a programme that enables collection of comparable monitoring data from all regions of the world to assess the effectiveness of the Stockholm Convention in minimizing human and environmental exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs). To know whether the levels of POPs are increasing or decreasing over time, information on environmental and human exposure levels of these chemicals should enable detection of trends. GMP looks at background levels of POPs at locations not influenced by local sources, such as ‘hot spots’. For human sampling, the focus is on the general population rather than on individuals who may have suffered high exposure to POPs.