Press Release

Endosulfan and other chemicals being assessed for listing under the Stockholm Convention

Meeting of POPRC Committee to consider hazardous chemicals for elimination from production and use

Geneva, 16 October 2009 – the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC), a subsidiary to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants concluded its meeting in Geneva, Switzerland today. The Committee reviewed data on three chemicals that have been nominated as substances to be added to the Convention.

  • Short chained chlorinated paraffins (SCCP): The committee reviewed the revised risk profile, decided to postpone a decision to its next meeting. In the meantime it will gather additional information on its environmental and health effects and trends in the levels in the environment to assist decision-making at its next meeting. SCCP are a group of industrial chemicals used in metalworking, and the formulation and manufacturing of products such ad polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastics and metalworking fluids. They are of concern because they are persistent, have been found in remote areas such as the Arctic, and could accumulate to levels that toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms.

  • Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD): The Committee considered the proposal of Norway to add HBCD to the convention. HBCD is flame retardant used mainly in expanded and extruded polystyrene. It is also used in textile coatings and in high impact polystyrene for electrical and electronic equipment. The Committee reviewed the information provided and concluded that HBCD met the criteria for adverse effects, persistence, and bioaccumulation and long-range transport in Annex D of the Convention and agreed to prepare a risk profile that will be reviewed and considered at its next meeting to assist in determining if the chemical is likely as a result of its long-range environmental transport to lead to significant adverse human health and/or environmental effects such that global action is warranted.

  • Endosulfan: The Committee reviewed and adopted a revised draft risk profile on endosulfan by which it agrees that the POP characteristics of the chemical warrant global action. The Committee will develop for endosulfan a risk management evaluation document that includes an analysis of possible control measures for consideration at its next meeting and final recommendation to the COP for its listing in the Annexes of the Convention. Endosulfan is a pesticide that is still widely used on many crops such 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 POPRC is composed of 31 members of the POPRC – who are all highly placed scientists representing their regions around the globe. The meetings of the Committee are also open to observers from the NGO community, industry, research organizations and non-Party governments. Its mandate is to review proposals to add new chemicals to the Stockholm Chemicals. A chemical can be listed in the Stockholm Convention as persistent organic pollutants (POPs) when it shows that it persists in the environment, bioaccumulates in organisms (increases in concentration up the food chain), travels through the environment over long distances from the region of its release to other regions of the globe, and is toxic to the environment and human health.

Currently, there are twenty-one chemicals listed in the convention including DDT, lindane, PCBs and dioxins and furans and some brominated flame retardants. The objective of the convention which has 166 Parties, is to restrict and eliminate these chemicals from production and use in order to protect human health and the environment.

Since the beginning of its operations, the POPRC has recommended nine chemicals for listing and all nine were accepted by the Conference of the Parties of the Convention during its meeting in May earlier this year.

Any new recommendation of the POPRC to list one or more of the substance under review will be conveyed to the fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the Stockholm Convention to be held in May 2011.

Notes to Editors

Further information is available at or by emailing

Please contact Fatoumata Keita Ouane, Senior Scientific Officer, Secretariat of the Stockholm Convention, Geneva, +44 (22) 917 8161,

SC News Release 2009/04

Fifth meeting of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC)

Geneva, Switzerland, 12 - 16 October 2009

See the POPRC5 page