Updates on POPs Convention
No. 18/ 2009 Nine new chemicals, some widely used as pesticides and flame retardants, are proposed for listing as target substances under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, the POPs Convention.
Ministers and officials from 150 governments are meeting to advance global efforts to rid the world of some of the most hazardous chemicals ever produced. For the first time in the history of the treaty, new chemicals now are under consideration for listing in the annexes of the Convention.
There are four separate challenges that delegates will consider:
Moving away from the production and use of POPs towards safer alternatives and to reach the goal of eliminating the release of unintentionally produced POPs.
Identifying new POPs that put human health and environment at risk.
Ensuring that technical and financial resources are made available for all countries to meet their obligations under the Convention.
Continuing to ensure the Convention meets its goal of protecting human health and the environment from POPs. The nine new chemicals proposed for listing under the treaty are:
Alpha hexachlorocyclohexane Beta hexachlorocyclohexane Hexabromodiphenyl ether and heptabromodiphenyl ether Tetrabromodiphenyl ether and pentabromodiphenyl ether Chlordecone Hexabromobiphenyl Lindane Pentachlorobenzene Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, its salts and perfluorooctane sulfonyl fluoride. While the POPs risk level varies, all of these chemicals share four properties: they are highly toxic; they are stable and persistent, often lasting for decades before degrading into less dangerous forms; they evaporate and travel long distances through air and water; and they accumulate in the fatty tissue of humans and wildlife.
The POPs Convention, has targeted only the so-called "dirty dozen" - 12 hazardous pesticides and industrial chemicals that are linked with human health impacts ranging from damage to the nervous and immune systems, cancer and reproductive disorders and the disruption of infant and child development. The POPs Convention's initial dozen chemicals are:
Aldrin Chlordane DDT Dieldrin Endrin Heptachlor Hexachlorobenzene Mirex Toxaphene PCBs Polychlorinated Dioxins Polychlorinated Furans A key issue for delegates at the conference is an evaluation of whether countries that use DDT to combat mosquitoes carrying the deadly malaria parasite need to continue doing so.
Delegates will consider the endorsement of a business plan to promote effective alternatives to DDT. While the Convention targets DDT for elimination, it recognizes that some countries must still use this pesticide to protect their citizens' health.
Information Source ENS News on 4 May 2009 SGS TAIWAN LTD. – Taipei Multi Chemical Laboratory t: +886 2 2299 3279
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