Thursday, October 21, 2010

Stockholm Convention POPs Committee Reviews 3 Chemicals - Recommends to Get Rid of Endosulfan

"The Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC), a subsidiary body to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, adopted a dozen decisions at its sixth meeting, concluded last Friday, including ones aimed at strengthening chemicals science on climate change and POPs."  So says the press release issued two days ago.  On the cutting block - Endosulfan - the widely used pesticide for which the committee recommended listing in Annex A of the Convention. Such a listing normally leads to a chemical's elimination from commerce.

According to the findings, "Endosulfan is used on many crops such as soy, cotton, rice, and tea.  It is highly toxic to humans and many other animals and has been found in the environment, including the Arctic."

The long range transport, persistence, bioaccumulation and toxicity characteristics were deemed sufficient for action even though there remains some scientific uncertainty and contentious disagreements from some of the parties.

The POPs committee also adopted the risk profile on hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), which is "a flame retardant used mainly in expanded and extruded polystyrene."  Based on its "adverse effects, persistence, bioaccumulation and long-range transport," the committee determined that HBCD "should proceed to the risk management phase, the next step in the committee’s review process."

However, they postponed making a decision on short-chained chlorinated paraffins (SCCP), which they felt needed more data collection.  SCCPs are "used in metalworking, and the formulation and manufacturing of products such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastics and metalworking fluids."

The committee's recommendations are passed on to the fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the Stockholm Convention, which will be held in Geneva in April 2011.

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