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environment health & sustainability

issue no.11 September 2012

IZA Joins Unique Partnership to Focus on Treating environment Childhood Diarrhea and Pneumonia with Zinc health & sustainability

Zinc...essential for life in this issue: Pledge to Eliminate Diarrheal Deaths


Zinc helps antibiotics save infants


Micronutrients top list of efficient investments


Metals for Building Campaign


BREF Document on Environmental Performance


Australia’s NICNAS Overhaul


Bioavailability in Risk Assessment for Metal Mixtures


Emerging Issue: Study on ZnO in soybean plants elicits response from IZA


The Child Survival Call to Action event held in Washington DC in June brought together the world’s leading health organizations, international governments and major corporations to announce their commitments to end child deaths from diarrhea and pneumonia in the highest burden countries. All parties agreed to compile their resources, expertise, and innovation in new ways to accelerate progress toward ending preventable child deaths.

IZA shared the stage to announce the “Declaration on Scaling Up Treatment of Childhood Diarrhea and Pneumonia” which creates a platform for partners to align technical and financial resources to scale up use of ORS and zinc for diarrhea and amoxicillin for pneumonia. Use of these low cost, life-saving interventions has the potential to save over two million children every year. In support of this Declaration, the Zinc Alliance for Child Health (ZACH) will allocate $15 million to support the national scale up of zinc and ORS in the highest-burden countries. In addition, McCann Health, one of the world’s largest marketing communications companies, committed $5 million of inkind resources and technical assistance to support the design and implementation of marketing campaigns to increase awareness of, and demand for, ORS and zinc – a critical barrier to ensuring universal use of these products. In addition to IZA, the U.S. and Canadian governments, UNICEF, WHO, the 1

Clinton Foundation, the MDG Health Alliance, Teck, McCann Health, and a number of implementing partners have signed the declaration. A copy of the Declaration can be found at and www. IZA’s partnership with the MDG Health Alliance, the UN Foundation, USAID, GBCHealth and ZACH helped create the Mining Compact for Child Health, an initiative in support of UN’s Every Woman Every Child campaign. The Mining Compact for Child Health facilitates the participation of interested mining companies to improve awareness and availability of ORS and zinc to treat and prevent diarrhea—a leading killer of children under 5. Country India Nigeria DRC Pakistan Ethiopia Afghanistan China Sudan Mali Angola

Annual number of deaths in children under 5 due to pneumonia and diarrhea

ORS Coverage

Zinc Coverage

609,000 241,000 147,000 126,000 96,000 79,000 64,000 44,000 42,000 39,000

26% 26% 26% 41% 265 30% no data 22% 14% 40%

0.3% 1% 2% 0% 0% no data no data no data no data no data

Source: Pneumonia and Diarrhea: Leading Killers, Vulnerable Children. UNICEF, 2012.

IZA is actively working with interested mining companies (IZA members as well as others) to secure their support and participation in the Mining Compact’s efforts to save children’s lives. Please contact Andrew Green for more information.

health article of interest... “Oral zinc formulations may shorten the duration of symptoms of the common cold.” Science M, Johnstone J, Roth DE, Guyatt G, Loeb M. 2012. Zinc for the treatment of the common cold: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Can Med Ass J 184:E551E561. To access, click here.

Pledge Underway to Eliminate Diarrheal Deaths in Uganda IZA has partnered with the Clinton Health Access Initiative, the United Nations, the World Health Organization and several other international Government Seal of Uganda organizations to eliminate the prevalence of childhood mortality in Uganda due to diarrhea. Despite significant improvements to health access, more than 14,000 children in the country are still dying each year from diarrhea, the second leading cause of death in children under five. With only 3.5 years remaining to reduce child mortality to meet Millennium Development Goal 4, significant acceleration of efforts is needed. Treatment scale-up (Oral Rehydration Salts and zinc) has been highlighted as a crucial complement to the introduction of the rotavirus vaccine and diarrhea protection efforts. However, access to ORS and zinc is unacceptably low in Uganda, and this remains one of the key challenges. The Government 2


of Uganda, through the Ministry of Health, has sought partner organizations to join them in making a pledge to support the national effort to eliminate diarrheal deaths in children. In line with World Health Organization and national recommendations, partners pledge to support the following three core commitments and associated activities to eliminate diarrheal deaths in Uganda: 1) Build demand among caregivers and health providers to promote and use ORS & zinc, 2) Ensure widespread availability of optimal, affordable and high-quality ORS & zinc, and 3) Mobilize attention and resources to support scale-up of zinc and ORS. President Clinton participated in the launch event for this new effort to eliminate diarrheal deaths in Uganda along with government officials and other key stakeholders. Please contact Andrew Green for more information.

Study on Life-saving Zinc Supplementation Suggests Wide Applications Pneumonia and Diarrhoea: Tackling the Deadliest Diseases for the World’s Poorest Children (UNICEF, June 2012) lays out a plan to achieve the ultimate vision of reducing childhood mortality by 65% by 2015 and has served as the backbone of many campaigns currently underway in which IZA plays an integral part, such as the Declaration on Scaling Up Treatment of Diarrhea and Pneumonia and the Pledge to Eliminate Diarrheal Deaths in Uganda. To access, click here.

A study assessing the efficacy of zinc “...therapeutic use given to infants in addition to antibiotics found that babies given zinc were 40% of zinc could have less likely to experience treatment failure wide application… and that the risk of death was reduced by including other seri43%. “This finding is important because case fatality is high in infants presenting ous bacterial infecwith symptoms of probable serious tions, such as those bacterial infection,” authors of the study causing typhoid festated.1 The findings are especially ver or meningitis.” important for developing nations in which serious bacterial infections are a major cause of death in early infancy. Conducted in New Delhi, India, the study included babies aged 1 week to 17 weeks who were being treated with antibiotics for serious infections. There were 34 treatment failures in children who received zinc, and 55 failures in children given a placebo (a relative risk reduction of 40%). In addition, positive effects of supplemental zinc may prove to have more widespread impact, as noted by the authors. “The clinical benefits in diarrhea and pneumonia in children younger than 5 years, and now in probable serious infections in young infants, suggest that therapeutic use of zinc could have wide application…including other serious bacterial infections, such as those causing typhoid fever or meningitis.”

Micronutrient Intervention Again Tops the List of Investments in Copenhagen Consensus 2012 …a Repeat of 2008 findings Every four years a panel of economic experts comprising some of the world’s most distinguished economists, including Nobel Laureates, gather to prioritize the ten greatest global challenges and solutions. 1Christa L Fischer Walker and Robert E Black. “Zinc treatment for serious infections in young infants.” Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg. School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD USA.


In 2008, the number one challenge that could be addressed in the most economically efficient way was Vitamin A and Zn deficiencies—in 2012, hunger and nutrition remain the top priorities. The most economically beneficial intervention to address hunger and to improve nutrition is bundling micronutrients. Once hunger and nutrition are addressed, children’s enrollment in school and retention of knowledge will increase greatly, as will the likelihood of being able to earn a better living—thus improved economic benefits.


Another solution endorsed by the economists to address the hunger challenge is investment into research and development to increase crop yields. Increasing crop yields reduces hunger but also improves farmers’ incomes, which improves economies in farming communities. To view the full results of the Copenhagen Consensus, click here.

Sustainability Resource Efficiency Update The European Resource Efficiency Platform (EREP) will provide recommendations on achieving the milestones set out in the “Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe.” Indicators and targets for resource efficiency, such as recycling, will be proposed. By mid-2013 the EREP will issue the first set of recommendations that could feed into policy proposals.

Click here for more information about zinc and sustainability

Indicators and, subsequently, targets are of major interest for the metals industry. Eurometaux has issued a study including a SWOT-Analysis on those indicators proposed in the roadmap. The study has been finalized by Risk and Policy Analysts and is available from IZA. The next stage is a public consultation on indicators. IZA is following the developments closely by active participation in the relevant Eurometaux‘ working groups. IZA will generate appropriate data and messages on zinc accordingly. Please contact Sabina Grund for more information.

Metals for Buildings Campaign Launched In June, during European Sustainable Energy Week, the METALS FOR BUILDINGS alliance officially launched a campaign to promote the unique strengths of metal products for highly recyclable and sustainable buildings. The Alliance calls for more consistency in the construction sector policies in addressing the unique attributes of metal building products and, in particular, their recyclability. “The EU has many far-reaching environmental objectives and is strongly committed to work on the sustainability of construction products in the context of the emerging


sustainability “Metals provide society with a material that is 100% recyclable without loss of properties, and as a result, they help minimize the impact on the earth’s resources.”

Upcoming Conference: SETAC North America 33rd Annual Meeting, Long Beach, California, USA, 11-15 November 2012

resource efficiency strategy. The metals represented by our Alliance are essential to bridging the gap between those policy objectives and their effective implementation,” said the newly-elected Chairman, Patrick Le Pense. Le Pense is General Manager in the Construction Engineering Office of ArcelorMittal. The new alliance seeks full recognition of metals’ inherent value in terms of sustainable buildings. According to Le Pense, “Metals provide society with a material that is 100% recyclable without loss of properties, and as a result, they help minimize the impact on the earth’s resources.” Please contact Christine Spirlet for more information.

Zinc Nutrient Initiative Highlighted at SETAC Conference As a Global Partner of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC), IZA participates in a roundtable discussion on the role that science plays in the vision for a comprehensive framework for sustainability assessments. The goal of the session was to broaden the awareness and appreciation of environmental scientists (SETAC members) for the efforts that industry is making towards developing a sustainable society. While the panel was composed of other organizations representing chemical management policy ‒ consumer product manufacturing, nanotechnology, and sustainability practitioners ‒ the audience were predominantly technical scientists from academia, government and industry. IZA’s Zinc Nutrient Initiative was highlighted as an exceptional example of the importance of science-based advancements related to global food and health security. The messages were well received and questions generally focused on the sources of zinc for fertilizers/pharmaceuticals and policy measures to improve human health and crop productivity. IZA will continue to work with organizers to highlight its sustainability activities to this often overlooked stakeholder group. Please contact Eric Van Genderen for more information.

Regulatory Affairs BREF Document on Environmental Performance In June, IZA submitted chapter 6.3 of the non-ferrous metals BREF document to the European Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Bureau (EIPPCB). Chapter 6.3 describes the environmental performance of all the sub-processes that are used in the primary and secondary zinc industries. Eighteen plants of our European members and associated members joined the IZA working group and provided valuable process descriptions and plant specific emission data. The EIPPCB will use this document to draw 5

conclusions on Best Available Techniques (BAT) for the zinc and cadmium industries in Europe. The EIPPCB facilitates the exchange of information between Member States and industry on BAT, associated monitoring and developments. The European IPPC Bureau produces reference documents on Best Available Techniques, called BREFs. BREFs are the main reference documents used by authorities in EC Member States when issuing operating permits for the installations that represent a significant pollution potential in Europe. Please contact Mik Gilles for more information.

Australian NICNAS Overhaul Currently, the overall chemicals framework in Australia comprises a variety of bodies performing functions, such as policy oversight, risk assessment, risk management and enforcement across a number of sectors (work health and safety, public health, environment, product safety, transport). In particular, the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) provides chemical regulation through a notification and assessment process that promotes the safe and sustainable use of chemicals at the national level. To address how regulatory settings may be improved to enhance both the competitiveness of the Australian chemical industry and public health and environmental outcomes, a review of NICNAS was commissioned by the Australian Government and conducted by the Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) and the Department of Finance and Deregulation (DoFD). The review highlighted the following: • A fragmented and complex system with indiscernible linkages between the various regulators and their respective responsibilities; • No common risk framework that applies across all of the agencies responsible for risk assessment and management in relation to industrial chemicals; • Lack of an efficient and economical process to provide rapid assessment and response for new and existing chemicals; and • Lack of international harmonization.

Ultimately, the new framework will be used to assess all chemicals in the Australian Inventory of Chemical Substances (AICS). Of the 800 substances listed as Stage One Chemicals, zinc metal and high-volume inorganic zinc compounds are included. However, their inclusion is based on the amount of existing data and concurrent international activities (Canadian CMP, EU REACH, etc.); zinc is not considered a Priority Existing Chemical (PEC).


IZA Sponsored Research: A bioavailabilitybased (BLM) update to the U.S. EPA’s ambient water quality criteria for zinc would increase the acute criterion by 4 to 293%, compared to the current hardnessbased approach. DeForest DK, Van Genderen EJ. 2012. Application of U.S. EPA guidelines in a bioavailabilitybased assessment of ambient water quality criteria for zinc in freshwater. Environ Toxicol Chem 31:1264–1272. To access, click here.



IZA is currently reviewing the proposed Reform framework and options and has been in contact with the Mining Council of Australia, other metal commodity associations, and producers. To this end, IZA is available to assist with preparation and submission of comments by its members. Please contact Eric Van Genderen for more information.

Research Click here for more information about zinc and the environment

What one characteristic does zinc have in common with lead, gold, and tin that no other element has? (answer on next page)

Incorporating Bioavailability into Risk Assessment for Metal Mixtures While the concepts encompassing mixture toxicity and modeling have existed for decades, new approaches (“bioavailability models�) have recently been expanded to consider metal mixture scenarios. Current environmental regulations rarely require assessment of chemical mixtures. The metals industries, however, consider this research, and the development of efficient and economic science-based risk assessment approaches for metals mixtures, essential for preparing for future regulatory demands and for ensuring Overall, apadequate environmental protection. Thus, proaches have a comparative modeling evaluation was commissioned by the copper, nickel and been successzinc industries in an attempt to compare fully developed and contrast the available approaches for to incorporate modeling metal mixtures in fresh water using the principles of bioavailability. The bioavailability into project culminated in a technical workshop metal mixture risk (held in May in Brussels) where results from assessment. the modeling approaches were presented to a broad group of metals research scientists. Four international research groups (U.S. Geological Survey, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, HDR|Hydroqual, and Japanese National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology), are actively developing, testing and publishing a range of bioavailability-based approaches. They were provided the same mixture dataset (nearly 2500 metal mixture and associated single-metal exposures) to which they applied their respective modeling approaches. The modeling approaches represented the spectrum of complexity.


Results of the comparative evaluation demonstrated the various approaches provided consistent conclusions concerning interaction types and importance of accounting for bioavailability in metal mixture risk assessments. All of the modeling approaches were challenged by metal combinations where significant antagonism occurred (e.g., competition between copper/zinc and cadmium). In addition, the biological variability associated with concurrent single-metal toxicity tests introduced notable uncertainty when interpreting interaction types and modeling performance.

environment answer: It only has one syllable.

Overall, approaches have been successfully developed to incorporate bioavailability into metal mixture risk assessment. Please contact Eric Van Genderen for more information.

Emerging Issue... Recent publication on ZnO nanomaterials in soybean plants creates negative spin in the press…IZA response has impact A recent publication on the effects of nanomaterials on soybean crops (PNAS Plus, August 20, 2012), reported that nano ZnO improves crop productivity and zinc concentration in plants, stating,“Zn concentrations increased…with more than 6 times more Zn in the stem, 4 times more in the leaf, and nearly 3 times more in the soybean pod, when comparing the high nano-ZnO treatment vs. control.” These findings are of course very positive and to be expected based on numerous studies and research efforts seeking to improve the zinc nutritional content in crops. Therefore, it was surprising that the authors presented these results in a negative light, suggesting that increased zinc concentrations in plants poses a potential risk to humans by stating, “Very high Zn accumulations could cause long-term impacts to either plant or human health...”. The report generated a lot of press (BBC News, Discovery, NCBI, Epoch Times of London, Science Daily, National Science Foundation, Nanotech Law, among others) most of which adopted the negative connotation toward increased zinc concentrations in plant tissues. This reporting was misleading because, in reality, the risk of over-exposure to zinc is negligible compared to the risk of being zincdeficient—which is far and away the bigger, more immediate danger, with an estimated 450,000 children under the age of five dying each year from a lack of zinc (Black et al, 2008). IZA implemented a comprehensive response to address the issue, reaching out to the author of the study as well as to some of the more predominant media outlets to express concerns and to share data regarding the essentiality of zinc in soils, plants, crops, animals, and humans. Positive results were achieved, including an information-sharing session with the author and an agreement to work together in the future when possible. Further, BBC News acknowledged that their article covering the report failed to relate certain key aspects of zinc nutrition. They amended their article and will now consider IZA as a potential source to corroborate facts about zinc. For more information please contact Andrew Green.

Environment, Health, & Sustainability is a newsletter published by The International Zinc Association (IZA), a non-profit organization headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. For more information, please visit Director, ESD: Andrew Green ● Managing Editor: Eric Van Genderen ● Layout Design: Teri Kuhn ©2012 International Zinc Association.


ESD Newsletter, Sept 2012  

Environment, Health, and Sustainability Newsletter, issue no. 11, produced by IZA.