Indonesia’s Food Chain Turns Toxic as Plastic Waste Exports Flood In
Plastic waste exports to south-east Asia have been implicated in extreme levels of toxins entering the human food chain in Indonesia.
A new study that sampled chicken eggs around sites in the country where plastic waste accumulates identified alarming levels of dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls long recognised as extremely injurious to human health.
In one location the level of dioxins in eggs collected near an Indonesian factory that burns plastics for fuel were similar to levels in eggs collected near the notorious Agent Orange hotspot in Bien Hoa, Vietnam, which is considered one of the most dioxin-contaminated locations on Earth.
The study is the first to demonstrate food chain contamination in south-east Asia with high levels of hazardous chemicals as a consequence of waste mismanagement and plastic waste imports.
The report – Plastic Waste Poisons Indonesia’s Food Chain – was compiled by researchers from the global environmental health network IPEN, along with the Arnika Association and several local Indonesian organisations.
According to the study, an adult eating just one egg from a free-range chicken foraging in the vicinity of the tofu factory in Tropodo would exceed the European Food Safety Authority tolerable daily intake for chlorinated dioxins by seventy-fold.
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