Seventh meeting of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC.7)

Geneva, Switzerland
from 10 to 14 October 2011

The Seventh meeting of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC) was held at the Varembé Conference Centre.

The Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC) adopted twelve decisions at its seventh meeting, including one recommending that the chemical hexabromocyclododecane be listed under the Convention. The Committee also decided that chlorinated naphthalenes and hexachlorobutadiene, two chemicals proposed for listing under the convention, met the screening criteria of Annex D of the convention and to prepare draft risk profiles for these chemicals. The Committee agreed to continue its evaluation of a third chemical, pentachlorophenol and its salts and esters. The Committee also concurred to work on a number of other issues during the intersessional period, including the assessment of alternatives to endosulfan, DDT and use of PFOS in open applications, toxic interactions, SCCP, and climate change and POPs.

Highlights

The Committee reviewed five chemicals that have been nominated as substances to be added to the Convention:

  • Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD): The Committee reviewed and adopted the risk management evaluation on HBCD and recommended to the Conference of the Parties that it consider listing the chemical in Annexes A, B and/or C to the Convention. The Committee also decided to collect further information on chemical alternatives to HBCD and on the production and use of HBCD. At its eighth meeting, the Committee will consider whether to specify the annex to the Convention and possible exemptions to be considered by the Conference of the Parties in listing HBCD. The chemical, a flame retardant used mainly in polystyrene, was proposed for listing under the Convention by Norway in 2008. HBCD is also used in textile coatings and in high impact polystyrene for electrical and electronic equipment.
  • Chlorinated naphthalenes (CN): The Committee examined the proposal by the European Union to list CN under the Convention and applied the screening criteria specified in Annex D. It decided that CN, except for monochlorinated naphthalene, met the screening criteria of Annex D of the convention and to prepare a draft risk profile. CN were used for decades for wood preservation, as additive to paints and engine oils, and for cable insulation and in capacitors. Until the 1970s, CN were high volume chemicals.
  • Hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD): The Committee also examined the proposal by the European Union to list hexachlorobutadiene under the Convention and decided that it met the screening criteria of Annex D and to prepare a draft risk profile. HCBD was a widely used fumigant used to control pests and as an industrial solvent. HCBD also occurs as a by-product during production of other chlorinated solvents.
  • Pentachlorophenol (PCP) and its salts and esters: Concerning the third chemical proposed for listing under the Convention by the European Union, the Committee came to the conclusion that it would defer its consideration until its eighth meeting. An intersessional working group would additionally review studies on the fate and transport of pentachlorophenol and pentachloroanisole. PCP is an organochlorine compound used as a pesticide and a disinfectant.
  • Short-chained chlorinated paraffins (SCCP): The Committee agreed to revise the relevant parts of the draft risk profile to incorporate information on toxicological interactions of chlorinated paraffins during the intersessional period, and to compile issues and principles to be applied in the interpretation of the Annex E criteria. SCCP are a group of industrial chemicals used in metalworking, and the formulation and manufacturing of products such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastics and metalworking fluids.

The Committee also concurred to assess alternatives to endosulfan, DDT and PFOS in open applications, expanding its work into a new area recently mandated by the Parties to the Convention. The Committee will furthermore continue existing work on guidance on alternatives to PFOS and its derivatives; the work programme on brominated diphenyl ethers and PFOS, its salts and PFOSF; developing a draft approach to consideration of toxicological interactions when evaluating chemicals proposed for listing; and enhancing effective participation in the Committee’s work. Besides, the Committee examined implications of the 2011 study, Climate Change and POPs: Predicting the Impacts and agreed to develop guidance on evaluating how global warming processes affect the fate, transport and toxicity of POPs.

Press releases

Press Release: UN chemical experts pave way for more sustainable management of chemicals

The outcomes of the recent Rotterdam Convention CRC-12 and Stockholm Convention POPRC-12 meetings are now available online, featuring proposed new chemicals listings at the COPs in Geneva in 2017.

Press Release: UN chemical experts pave way for more sustainable management of chemicals

Press Release: UN chemical experts pave way for more sustainable management of chemicals
 
Outcomes of POPRC11 available now

The recommendation to list in Annex A decabromodiphenyl ether - or c-decaBDE, a highly toxic and persistent flame retardant - was the highlight of the 4-day POPRC meeting which ended at 2100 on 23 October 2015, in FAO Rome.

Outcomes of POPRC11 available now

Outcomes of POPRC11 available now

Taking important practical steps to protect human health and the environment, the Stockholm Convention’s Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee held its 11th meeting at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Headquarters in Rome, 19-23 October 2015.

Persistent Organic Pollutants are amongst the most toxic substances found on earth and pose serious threats to human health and the environment, and can be found in human breast milk, air, water and animals, including those living in polar regions. Specific effects of POPs can include cancer, allergies and hypersensitivity, damage to the central and peripheral nervous systems, reproductive disorders, and disruption of the immune system. Some POPs are also considered to be endocrine disrupters, which, by altering the hormonal system, can damage the reproductive and immune systems of exposed individuals as well as their offspring; they can also have developmental and carcinogenic effects.

The Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC), a subsidiary body of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), recommended the inclusion of one additional chemical under the Convention in Annex A - decabromodiphenyl ether or c-decaBDE - a highly toxic and persistent flame retardant commonly used in the aeronautical, automobile, and textile industries. The decision to list decaDBE will be taken at the next Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention, in 2017.

The Committee also agreed and adopted the risk profile for short-chained chlorinated paraffins, moving them to the next stage of the listing process, which requires the development of a risk management evaluation. SCCP uses include in metalworking, paints, adhesives and sealants, leather fat liquors, plastics and rubber, flame retardants, and textiles and polymeric materials.

The Committee further agreed that pentadecafluorooctanoic acid, PFOA, its salts and PFOA-related compounds, meets the Annex D criteria to be considered a POP, namely persistence, bioaccumulation, long-range transport and adverse effects. The next step is to prepare a draft risk profile for this widely used chemical. PFOA-related substances are used in fire-fighting foams, wetting agents and cleaners, textiles and leather, paper and cardboard (e.g. food packaging), paints and lacquers and others.

Further decisions were adopted concerning new information on unintentional releases of Hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD); accepting the Guidance on alternatives to perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, its salts (PFOS), perfluorooctane sulfonyl fluoride and related chemicals; on ensuring effective participation in the work of the Committee; and on approving the Committee’s workplan for the next intersessional period until POPRC12. On dicofol the Committee agreed to form an intersessional working group to revise the draft risk profile for submission and adoption at the next POPRC meeting in 2016.

Demonstrating very clearly the integrated and cross-cutting nature of chemicals in peoples’ everyday lives, the meetings brought together government-appointed chemical experts from all regions as well as specialised NGOs and the private sector. Deliberations included not only the toxicology of POPs but also consideration of alternatives, risk management, and socio-economic aspects.

“In moving forwards towards eventual listing of these chemicals, the Committee has recommended actions that will protect human lives and the environment against some of the world’s most dangerous toxic chemicals,” said Professor Estefania Gastaldello Moreira, from the University of Londrina (Brazil), Chairperson of the POPs Review Committee. “We believe that only through sound management of chemicals and wastes can the globally-agreed Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, be achieved, which are crucial for society to overcome the twin challenges of poverty eradication and climate change”.

The meeting of the POPs Review Committee will be followed back-to-back by the Rotterdam Convention’s Chemical Review Committee 11th meeting, 26-28 October 2015, at the same venue.

Note for Editors:

The Stockholm Convention on POPs regulates chemicals that are persistent, bioaccumulative, toxic, and evaporate and travel long distances through the air and through water, to protect human health and the environment globally. Article 8 of the Convention entails the reviewing process of new chemicals and Annex D, Annex E and Annex F specify the information and criteria required for the review.

The POPs Review Committee consists of thirty-one scientific experts appointed by the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention charged with undertaking scientific review of chemicals proposed for listing.

The flame retardant decabromodiphenyl ether (commercial mixture, c-decaBDE) is an additive flame retardant that has a variety of applications including in plastics, textiles, adhesives, sealants, coatings and inks. c-decaBDE containing plastics are used in electrical and electronic equipment, wires and cables, pipes and carpets. In textiles, c-decaBDE is mainly used in upholstery, window blinds, curtains and mattresses for public and domestic buildings, and in the transportation sector.

For more information, please contact:

For POPRC/Stockholm Convention: www.pops.int

Kei OHNO WOODALL, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (UNEP), Geneva: +41-79-2333218, +41-22-917-78201, kei.ohno-woodall@brsmeas.org

Charlie AVIS, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (UNEP), Geneva: +41-79-730-4495, charles.avis@brsmeas.org

For CRC/Rotterdam Convention: www.pic.int

Christine FUELL, Secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention (FAO), Rome: + 39-06-5705-3765, christine.fuell@fao.org


Read the ICCM4 Press Release

Outcomes of the 4th International Conference on Chemicals Management, featuring governments, civil society, and private sector, 28 September to 2 October in Geneva.

Read the ICCM4 Press Release

Read the ICCM4 Press Release

 

Parties adopt key decisions at 2015 Triple COPs

Finishing at 03:45 in the morning of Saturday, 16 May 2015, the Meetings of the Conferences of Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions are over, with several key decisions taken.

Parties adopt key decisions at 2015 Triple COPs

Parties adopt key decisions at 2015 Triple COPs

Geneva, Switzerland - 16 May, 2015

Significant steps were agreed upon early this morning by parties to the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions, as the 2015 Triple COPs drew to a close.

Staged under the theme “From Science to Action: Working for a Safer Tomorrow” from 4 to 15 May 2015, almost 1,200 participants from 171 countries converged on Geneva to push forward the chemicals and waste agenda at this biennial event.

A number of technical guidelines for the management of waste under the Basel Convention, four new listings (three under the Stockholm and one under the Rotterdam Conventions - polychlorinated napthalenes, hexachlorobutadiene, and pentachlorophenol and its salts and esters; and methamidophos respectively), and continued and strengthened synergies and implementation arrangements were the highlights of the decisions adopted on the final day. Meanwhile several chemicals considered were not listed, but instead deferred or made subject to special inter-sessional working group focus.

Basel Convention technical guidelines, aimed at assisting Parties to better manage crucial waste streams and move towards environmentally sound management (ESM), were adopted covering mercury waste and persistent organic pollutants (POPs) waste (one general and 6 specific waste-streams). Of high significance is the adoption on an interim basis of the technical guidelines concerning the transboundary movement of e-waste and used electronic and electrical products.

The BC technical guidelines on electronic, or e-waste provide much-needed guidance on how to identify e-waste and used equipment moving between countries, with the aim of controlling illegal traffic. Adoption came just days after UNEP released new data suggesting that as much as 90% of e-waste is dumped illegally, costing countries as much as US 18.8 $ billion annually and posing severe hazards to human health and the environment, particularly in Africa. Designed to provide a level playing field for all parties to the Convention, the guidelines will support and also encourage genuine recovery, repair, recycling and re-use of non-hazardous electronic components and equipment.

Regarding those pesticides where consensus could not be reached for listing, including paraquat and fenthion formulations, and trichlorfon, Clayton Campanhola, FAO Executive Secretary of the Rotterdam Convention, commented that “hazardous pesticides are not helping countries to produce more food with less, on the contrary: if badly managed, they cause negative impacts on natural resources and the health of rural communities and consumers.” In this respect, Parties requested additional technical assistance and support to identify alternatives to the use of hazardous pesticides which – if combined with integrated pest management (IPM) and agro-ecological approaches – form the basis for sustainable agricultural and rural development.

Whilst many Parties expressed their disappointment at the inability to reach consensus required for listing more of the chemicals proposed to be listed under the Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, the BRS Executive Secretary Rolph Payet stressed the significance of the steps taken in noting that “our Conventions’ joint and mutually reinforcing objective is the protection of human health and the environment, and the Guidelines and additional listings decided upon by Parties during these two weeks continue to move us in this crucial direction. We have to place the sustainable management of chemicals and waste in the context of peoples’ lives, especially the more than 1 billion people on our planet who continue to live in absolute poverty and who strive to better themselves in whatever ways they can. We will never waver in our moral and political responsibilities towards the most vulnerable people in this world, and I believe strongly that the three conventions continue to offer the best framework for moving jointly towards a greener, more inclusive economy, and a safer tomorrow for all”.

Notes for editors:

  • The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal is the most comprehensive international environmental agreement on hazardous and other wastes and has 183 parties.

  • The Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade promotes shared responsibility and cooperative efforts among its 154 Parties.

  • The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from chemicals that remain intact in the environment for long periods, become widely distributed geographically, accumulate in the fatty tissue of humans and wildlife, and have harmful impacts on human health or on the environment. It has 179 Parties.

  • Polychlorinated napthalenes, Hexachlorobutadiene, and Pentachlorophenol and its salts and esters, are persistent organic pollutants (POPs) posing serious threats to human health and the environment.

  • Methamidophos is an extremely toxic organophosphate insecticide, causing serious adverse effects to human health, particularly to neural, immunity and reproductive systems.

  • E-waste data from the UNEP report “Waste Crime – Waste Risks: Gaps in Meeting the Global Waste Challenge” UNEP and GRID-Arendhal/Nairobi (2015), 67pp, ISBN: 978-82-7701-148-6

For more information, please refer to:

Website: www.brsmeas.org

BRS Secretariat

Kei Ohno Woodall, Programme Officer,

kei.ohno-woodall@brsmeas.org tel: +41-79-2333218

BRS Press

Charlie Avis, Public Information Officer

Charles.avis@brsmeas.org tel: +41-79-7304495

FAO

Christine Fuell, Senior Technical Officer, Rotterdam Secretariat, Rome:

Christine.fuell@fao.org tel: +39-06-57053765

FAO Press

George Kourous, Information Officer, FAO Rome:

George.kourous@fao.org tel: +39-06-57053168

 

Global chemical conventions work together to continue supporting productive and sustainable agriculture, while protecting human health and the environment

Continuing the implementation of scientific synergies among global chemical agreements, the Rotterdam Convention’s Chemical Review Committee held its tenth meeting at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Headquarters in Rome, 22-24th October 2014, back-to-back with the tenth meeting of the Stockholm Convention’s POPs Review Committee, 27-30th October 2014.

Global chemical conventions work together to continue supporting productive and sustainable agriculture, while protecting human health and the environment

Global chemical conventions work together to continue supporting productive and sustainable agriculture, while protecting human health and the environment

Continuing the implementation of scientific synergies among global chemical agreements, the Rotterdam Convention’s Chemical Review Committee held its tenth meeting at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Headquarters in Rome, 22-24th October 2014, back-to-back with the tenth meeting of the Stockholm Convention’s POPs Review Committee, 27-30th October 2014.

The Chemical Review Committee (CRC), a subsidiary body of the Rotterdam Convention, made up of technical experts from across the world, met from 22-24th October and reviewed notifications of final regulatory action on three industrial chemicals and adopted draft decision guidance documents for the pesticide Methamidophos; and for the severely hazardous pesticide formulation .

Methamidophos is an insecticide widely used on a variety of crops including wheat, fruit trees, tomatoes, cotton, soybean and potatoes. Both chemical and non-chemical (Integrated Pest Management) alternatives are readily available. Fenthion[1] is used as a spray for bird control and can be replaced by a number of non-chemical measures including protection with nets, nest removal, bird scaring and trapping.

The recommended decision guidance documents will go forward for consideration of inclusion of these chemicals under the Rotterdam Convention at the forthcoming meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to be held in Geneva in May 2015.  “In doing so, we contribute not only to an informed decision making but also to the protection of the health of farmers and their families and with this we have a positive impact on food security at large”, said Christine Fuell, the Coordinator of the Rotterdam Convention Secretariat within the FAO. If approved at the COP, the Convention’s Prior Informed Consent Procedure will then apply also to these pesticides.

Following from that, the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC), a subsidiary body of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), met from 27-30th October and recommended the listing of pentachlorophenol and its salts and esters (PCP, sometimes commonly known as “angel dust”) within the list of POPs. The Committee thus recommended the elimination of its future production and use, while providing for a time-limited specific exemption for its production and use for utility poles and cross-arms. In doing so, the Committee adopted the risk management evaluation and proposed a recommendation for labelling requirements warning against the re-use for non-specified purposes. Whilst in the past this chemical was used as a biocide, insecticide, disinfectant and anti-microbial agent, these uses have been increasingly phased out although it is still used for preservation of, for example, wooden railway cross ties (or “sleepers”).

The Committee further considered a proposal for listing dicofol a pesticide and acaricide used in many countries on a variety of fruit, vegetable, and ornamental crops. Chemically related to DDT, a substance already listed in Annex B of the Convention, dicofol will now be scrutinized by the Committee for its potential persistent organic pollutants properties as the next step of the review process.

The work of the Committee members was described as very inclusive, very precise, and of high quality. Members also provided ideas and input for the preparation of the Science Fair that will be held during the upcoming meetings of the COPs in 2015. Reflecting the overall theme of the COPs “From Science to Action, Working Today for a Better Tomorrow” the Science Fair will highlight the work of Committees such as CRC and POPRC in providing a solid scientific base for decision-making and policies related to sound chemicals management, a key cornerstone in governments efforts to transition towards a greener, more inclusive economic path.

For more information on these and other outcomes of the two committee meetings, please contact:

Contact:

Christine FUELL, Secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention (FAO), Rome: + 39-06-5705-3765+ 39-06-5705-3765, christine.fuell@fao.org.

Kei OHNO WOODALL, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (UNEP), Geneva: +41-22-917-78201, kei.ohno-woodall@brsmeas.org .

Charlie AVIS, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (UNEP), Geneva: +41-79-730-4495+41-79-730-4495, charles.avis@brsmeas.org .

For more information: www.pops.int (Stockholm Convention) or www.pic.int (Rotterdam Convention).


UN chemical experts recommend phase out of two industrial chemicals
POPs Review Committee held its 9th meeting in Rome, back-to-back with its first joint meeting with the Rotterdam Convention’s Chemical Review Committee.

UN chemical experts recommend phase out of two industrial chemicals

UN chemical experts recommend phase out of two industrial chemicals

Strengthening scientific synergies among global chemical agreements, Stockholm Convention’s POPs Review Committee held its ninth meeting at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Headquarters in Rome, 14–18 October 2013, and its first joint meeting with the Rotterdam Convention’s Chemical Review Committee on 20 October 2013

Geneva and Rome, 21 October 2013 -The Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee, a subsidiary body of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), recommended the inclusion of two additional chemicals under the Convention, polychlorinated napththalenes (PCN) and hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD), thus lining them up for eventual phase-out. PCN and HCBD are both industrial chemicals used widely for many years in various applications including wood preservation, paint and insulation (PCN) and industrial processes (HCBD). HCBD was also used as a fumigant in pest control. Both chemicals have been recommended for listing in Annexes A and C to the Convention, thus targeting their intentional production, as well as unintentional releases of the chemicals.

The recommendations will be sent to the Parties to the Stockholm Convention for consideration at the seventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties, scheduled to be held from 4 to 15 May 2015 in Geneva.

The Committee adopted a total of nine decisions, including on a chemical newly proposed for listing, decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE). The Committee decided that decaBDE fulfilled the screening criteria in Annex D and agreed to prepare a draft risk profile for decaBDE as a next step in the review process. On dicofol, the Committee could not reach agreement and thus agreed to consider the proposal to list the chemical in Annexes A, B and/or C of the Convention further at its next meeting.

On pentachlorophenol and its salts and esters, the Committee adopted a risk profile and decided to move the chemical to the next review stage, the development of a risk management evaluation.

“Drawing upon its wealth of experience in tackling complex safety issues, the POPs Review Committee has recommended actions that will protect human lives and the environment against some of the world’s most dangerous toxic chemicals,” said Jim Willis, Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions.

The meeting of the POPs Review Committee was followed by a joint meeting between the Committee and the Rotterdam Convention’s Chemical Review Committee on Sunday, 20 October 2013. The Committee exchanged information on their respective review processes, and discussed ways to strengthen scientific synergies and enhance collaboration and cooperation among the committees. The Committee agreed upon a number of steps to make use of experiences gained through the work of the committees and established an intersessional working group to develop further guidance to assist parties to the Rotterdam Convention and the Chemical Review Committee in their work when a chemical under consideration is a POP listed under the Stockholm Convention.

The ninth meeting of the Chemical Review Committee will be held from 22 to 25 October 2013, at the same venue.

Note for Editors:

The Stockholm Convention on POPs regulates chemicals that are persistent, bioaccumulative, toxic, and evaporate and travel long distances through the air and through water, to protect human health and the environment globally. Article 8 of the Convention entails the reviewing process of new chemicals and Annex D, Annex E and Annex F specify the information and criteria required for the review.

The POPs Review Committee consists of thirty-one scientific experts appointed by the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention charged with undertaking scientific review of chemicals proposed for listing.

Polychlorinated naphthalenes (PCN) were used for decades for wood preservation, as an additive to paints and engine oils, and for cable insulation and in capacitors. Until the 1970s, PCNs were high volume chemicals.

Hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD) was a widely used fumigant used to control pests and as an industrial solvent. HCBD also occurs as a by-product during production of other chlorinated solvents.

Decabromodiphenyl ether (DecaBDE) is widely used as an additive flame retardant in textiles and plastics. It is a synthetic mixture of polybrominated diphenyl ethers, with the main component being the decaBDE congener.

Dicofol is pesticide and acaricide used in many countries around the world on a wide variety of fruit, vegetables, ornamental and field crops. It is chemically related to DDT, a substance listed in Annex B of the Convention.

Pentachlorophenol (PCP) is an organochlorine compound used as a pesticide and a disinfectant. A wealth of data on the adverse effects of pentachlorophenol in mammals show developmental, immunotoxic and neurotoxic effects. Human survivors of toxic exposures may suffer permanent visual and central nervous system damage.

The tenth meeting of the POPs Review Committee will be held in Rome, Italy, from 27 to 31 October 2014 back-to-back with the Chemical Review Committee of the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, tentatively scheduled for 20 to 24 October 2014.

The following twelve persistent organic pollutants had been recommended previously to the Conference of the Parties by the POPs Review Committee and have now been added to the Convention:

  • Alpha hexachlorocyclohexane
  • Beta hexachlorocyclohexane
  • Chlordecone
  • Hexabromobiphenyl
  • Hexabromocyclododecane
  • Hexabromodiphenyl ether and heptabromodiphenyl ether (commercial octabromodiphenyl ether)
  • Endosulfan
  • Lindane
  • Pentachlorobenzene
  • Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, its salts and perfluorooctane sulfonyl fluoride
  • Technical endosulfan and its related isomers
  • Tetrabromodiphenyl ether and pentabromodiphenyl ether (commercial pentabromodiphenyl ether)

The Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade contributes to the environmentally sound use of chemicals by facilitating information exchange about their characteristics. It provides for a national decision-making process on their import and export and disseminates these decisions to Parties through the Convention’s Prior Informed Consent, or PIC, procedure.

Contact:

Kei OHNO WOODALL, Programme Officer, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (UNEP), Geneva, +41-79-233-3218, kei.ohno-woodall@brsmeas.org

Michael S. JONES, Public Information Officer, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (UNEP), mobile/text message: +41-79-730-4495, michael.jones@brsmeas.org

For more information, see www.pops.int and wwww.pic.int.

UNEP and FAO experts explore scientific synergies between global chemicals agreements

Stockholm and Rotterdam conventions’ scientific review committees hold the ninth meetings back-to-back and their first joint meeting in Rome, 14–25 October 2013.

 

UNEP and FAO experts explore scientific synergies between global chemicals agreements

UNEP and FAO experts explore scientific synergies between global chemicals agreements

Stockholm and Rotterdam conventions’ scientific review committees hold the ninth meetings back-to-back and their first joint meeting in Rome, 14–25 October 2013.

Geneva and Rome, 11 October 2013 – The first joint meeting of the Rotterdam Convention’s Chemical Review Committee and the Stockholm Convention’s Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) Review Committee will be held on Sunday, 20 October 2013, at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Headquarters in Rome, Italy. The purpose of the joint meeting is to promote the exchange of scientific information between the two Committees.

The joint meeting of the two global chemical conventions’ scientific committees will be preceded by the ninth meeting of the POPs Review Committee (POPRC-9) from 14 to 18 October 2013, and be followed by the ninth meeting of the Chemical Review Committee (CRC-9), from 22 to 25 October 2013, at the same venue.

At its ninth meeting, the POPs Review Committee will have before it proposals for listing decabromodiphenyl ether (commercial mixture, c-decaBDE) and dicofol in Annexes A, B and/or C to the Stockholm Convention. The Committee will also review, among other things, the draft risk management evaluation on chlorinated naphthalenes and hexachlorobutadiene and the draft risk profile on pentachlorophenol and its salts and esters.

The Chemical Review Committee will review five chemicals (cyhexatin, lead arsenate, lead carbonate, methamidophos, pentachlorobenzene) and one severely hazardous pesticide formulation (fenthion 640 ULV).  

The Committees make recommendations to their respective conferences of the parties for listing additional chemicals in their instruments.

Contact:

Kei OHNO WOODALL, Programme Officer, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (UNEP), Geneva, +41-79-233-3218, kei.ohno-woodall@brsmeas.org

Elisabetta TAGLIATI, Programme Officer, Secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention (FAO), + 39-06-5705-6420, elisabetta.tagliati@fao.org

Erwin NORTHOFF, Media Relations Officer (FAO), +39-06-5705-3105, erwin.northoff@fao.org

Michael S. JONES, Public Information Officer, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (UNEP), mobile/text message: +41-79-730-4495, michael.jones@brsmeas.org

For more information, see www.pops.int (Stockholm Convention) or www.pic.int  (Rotterdam Convention).

 

Extraordinary UN Conference Takes Historic Strides to Strengthen Chemical Safety Globally

UNEP and FAO team up to promote synergies between the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions in two-week chemicals and waste meeting.

 

Extraordinary UN Conference Takes Historic Strides to Strengthen Chemical Safety Globally

Extraordinary UN Conference Takes Historic Strides to Strengthen Chemical Safety Globally

UNEP and FAO team up to promote synergies between the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions in two-week chemicals and waste meeting.

Geneva, Switzerland, 11 May 2013 – The three conventions that govern chemicals and hazardous waste safety at the global level concluded their first ever jointly held meetings of the parties late Friday night in Geneva. The historic meeting, attended by nearly two thousand participants from 170 countries, as well as 80 Ministers, adopted 50 separate decisions aimed at strengthening protection against hazardous chemicals and waste.

The three legally autonomous conventions had convened the joint meeting of the conferences of the parties to strengthen cooperation and collaboration between the conventions, with a view to enhancing the effectiveness of their activities on the ground. Each convention then continued individually over the two-week period to deal with its own specific topics of the global chemicals and waste agenda before returning in a joint session at the end of the week to finalize their outcomes.

The meeting culminated in a ministerial segment on 9 and 10 May 2013 dedicated to the theme of strengthening synergies between the conventions at national, regional and global level. The ministerial segment was joined by Swiss Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Director-General José Graziano da Silva, and Global Environment Facility (GEF) CEO and Chairperson Naoko Ishii.  The global agency leaders pledged to deepen cooperation and collaboration as part of a broader effort to raise the profile of chemicals and waste issues, promote green growth and alleviate poverty.

At its conclusion, the joint meeting acclaimed the “Geneva Statement on the Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste”. The Geneva Statement welcomed the UNEP-led consultative process on financing options for chemicals and waste that has considered the need for heightened efforts to increase the political priority accorded to sound management of chemicals and waste.

In a press conference following the ministerial segment, Mr. Steiner called the conferences of the parties “a unique historic event coming at a time of unprecedented change and progress in the arena of global environmental governance. The strengthening of UNEP and the synergies process of chemicals and waste multilateral environmental agreements are complementary parts of the ongoing reform to fortify the environmental dimension of sustainable development.”

Ms. Ishii spoke of the challenges countries face protecting the planet's critical ecosystems from contamination by hazardous chemicals and waste and of GEF support for strategies to overcome them. “At this critical juncture, the Global Environment Facility is committed to its financial support to help countries address these important challenges in three ways,” said Ms. Ishii. “Assisting them in their efforts to mainstream sound chemicals management in national agendas, creating an integrated GEF chemicals and wastes focal area, and expanding engagement with the private sector.”

FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said that in many countries intensive crop production has depleted agriculture’s natural resource base, jeopardizing future productivity. “To fight hunger and eradicate poverty, we will need to find more sustainable ways to produce 60 percent more food by 2050,” he said. However, he recognized that chemical pesticides would continue to be part of farming in many parts of the world in future.

“The challenge is to enable countries to manage pesticides safely, to use the right quantity, at the right time and in the right way and also to apply alternatives to hazardous pesticides. Because when we don’t, pesticides continue to pose a serious risk to human health and the environment and will eventually end up as waste. Today, half a million tons of obsolete pesticides are scattered around the developing world,” he said.

“Around 70 percent of the chemicals addressed by the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions are pesticides, and many are used in agriculture. It is in the best interest of all countries to ensure that the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions can work together, effectively and efficiently, to address various aspects of the chemical life cycle.”

The joint meetings of the conferences of the parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions also reviewed the impact of the arrangements put in place by governments in 2011 to strengthen synergies among the treaties.

The parties endorsed the organization of the Secretariat, and adopted a programme of work and budget individual and for joint activities of three conventions in 2014-2015. ”The parties have agreed to strengthen capacity building and technical assistance for countries by investing the savings realized over the past two years into an enhanced technical assistance programme that better meets the needs of developing countries and countries with economies in transition” said Jim Willis, Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions. “In an era of financial austerity, we have learned through synergies how to deliver more to parties while living within the economic limits faced by Governments today.”

“Much of the success of this synergies meeting is owed to the outstanding cooperation and inspired leadership of the three presidents of the conferences, Franz Perrez of Switzerland, Magdalena Balicka of Poland and Osvaldo Álvarez-Pérez of Chile,” added Mr. Willis.

The 6th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention agreed to list hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) to Annex A to the Convention with specific exemptions for expanded polystyrene and extruded polystyrene in buildings. Efforts to adopt a non-compliance mechanism, however, did not succeed in the face of continuing disagreement on how such a mechanism might function.

Basel Convention's parties, at their 11th Conference of the Parties, took decisions to strengthen compliance with the Convention. The Parties adopted a framework for the environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes and other wastes, and agreed, over the next two years, to develop technical guidelines on transboundary movements of electronic and electrical wastes (e-waste).

The meeting also decided terms of reference for the newly established Environmental Network for Optimizing Regulatory Compliance on Illegal Traffic (ENFORCE), which aims to prevent and combat illegal traffic in hazardous and other wastes through the better implementation and enforcement of national law.

The 6th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention had considered the possible addition of five chemicals and one severely hazardous pesticide formulation to Annex III of the Convention. It agreed by consensus to add the pesticide azinphos-methyl and the industrial chemicals PentaBDE, OctaBDE and PFOS to Annex III of the Convention.[1] Listing in Annex III triggers an exchange of information between Parties and helps countries make informed decisions about future import and use of the chemicals. The addition of four substances is the highest number to be added to the Convention's prior informed consent procedure by any conference of the parties since the adoption of the Convention in 1998.

In contrast, the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention did not succeed in reaching agreement on the addition of chrysotile asbestos and a severely hazardous pesticide formulation containing paraquat to the Convention. The proposal to list chrysotile asbestos and the paraquat formulation will be considered at the next Conference of the Parties in 2015.

The joint meeting hosted a three-day Regional Fair from 1 to 3 May 2013 dedicated to the theme 'Synergies through regional delivery' and attended by 20 Stockholm Convention or Basel Convention Regional Centres and two Regional Offices of UNEP. The Fair provided the venue for the signing of bi-regional and intra-regional cooperation agreements between centres in Latin America and Caribbean, and Central and Eastern European regions in the areas of technical assistance and awareness-raising and outreach.

Note to editors:

Chemicals contribute many advantages to today's world; however their use can also pose risks to human health and the environment. To reduce this harmful global impact, three conventions have been established that regulate chemicals and hazardous waste at global level:

Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal regulates the export/import of hazardous waste and waste containing hazardous chemicals. The Convention was adopted in 1989 and entered into force in 1992. It currently has 180 Parties.

Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade currently regulates information about the export/import of 47 hazardous chemicals listed in the Convention’s Annex III, 33 of which are pesticides (including 4 severely hazardous pesticide formulations) and 14 of which are industrial chemicals. The Convention was adopted in 1998 and entered into force in 2004. It currently has 152 Parties.

Unlike the Stockholm Convention, the Rotterdam Convention does not ban or restrict trade in chemicals or pesticide formulations, but serves to strengthen protection of human health and the environment by expanding the exchange of critical safety information between exporting and importing States.

Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants currently regulates 23 toxic substances that are persistent, travel long distances, bioaccumulate in organisms and are toxic. The Convention was adopted in 2001 and entered into force in 2004. It currently has 179 Parties.

Contact:

Christine Fuell, Technical Senior Officer and Coordinator, Secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention (FAO), Tel. +39 06 5705 3765, christine.fuell@fao.org

Michael S. Jones, Public Information Officer, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Cell +41 (0) 79 730 44 95, msjones@brsmeas.org

Nick Nuttall, Director, Division of Communication and Public Information, and UNEP Spokesperson, +254 20 7623084, nick.nuttall@unep.org

For more information, visit the 2013 COPs website: synergies.pops.int or follow the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions on Twitter @brsmeas #brscops.

 


 

[1]PentaBDE: Pentabromodiphenyl ether (CAS No. 32534-81-9) and pentabromodiphenyl ether commercial mixtures; OctaBDE: Octabromodiphenyl ether commercial mixtures; PFOS: Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, perfluorooctanesulfonates, perfluorooctanesulfonamides and perfluorooctanesulfonyls.

 

Message of Condolence to the Family, Friends and Colleagues of the Late Sergey E. Tikhonov

1 November 2012, Geneva - The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Mr. Sergey Eduardovich Tikhonov.

 

Message of Condolence to the Family, Friends and Colleagues of the Late Sergey E. Tikhonov

Message of Condolence to the Family, Friends and Colleagues of the Late Sergey E. Tikhonov

The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Mr. Sergey Eduardovich Tikhonov, a leader in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in the field of sound chemicals and waste management. Mr. Tikhonov died in Moscow, Russian Federation, on Friday, 26 October 2012.

Mr. Tikhonov headed the Autonomous Non-Profit Organization Centre for International Projects (ANO-CIP), based in Moscow, and served as director of the Stockholm Convention Regional Centre for capacity-building and transfer of environmentally sound technologies and the Basel Convention Regional Centre for Countries of the CIS.

Over a long and distinguished career, Mr. Tikhonov cooperated with the United Nations Environment Programme on awareness-raising and capacity-building initiatives in support of the chemicals and wastes conventions. He also supported a variety of public right-to-know mechanisms, including Earthwatch / International Register of Potentially Toxic Chemicals (IRPTC) and national Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers.

Sergey Tikhonov’s dedication and inspiring nature will long be remembered by those who were privileged to work with him.

Our Secretariat expresses its heartfelt sympathy to his family, friends and the staff of the Regional Centre in this time of sorrow.

UN chemical experts recommend that widely used flame retardant be phased out of global production and use

Three other chemicals proposed for listing in the Stockholm Convention on POPs are to be evaluated for management of their risks.

19 October 2012, Geneva – A UN expert body has recommended that the industrial flame retardant hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) be eliminated from the global marketplace to protect human health and the environment. HBCD is used mainly in expanded polystyrene and extruded polystyrene. It is also used in textile coatings and in high impact polystyrene for electrical and electronic equipment.

UN chemical experts recommend that widely used flame retardant be phased out of global production and use

UN chemical experts recommend that widely used flame retardant be phased out of global production and use

Three other chemicals proposed for listing in the Stockholm Convention on POPs are to be evaluated for management of their risks.

19 October 2012, Geneva – A UN expert body has recommended that the industrial flame retardant hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) be eliminated from the global marketplace to protect human health and the environment. HBCD is used mainly in expanded polystyrene and extruded polystyrene. It is also used in textile coatings and in high impact polystyrene for electrical and electronic equipment.

The Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee, a subsidiary body of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), adopted a recommendation to include HBCD in the Convention’s Annex A for elimination, with specific exemptions for expanded and extruded polystyrene needed to give countries time to phase-in safer substitutes. The recommendation will now be sent to the Parties to the Stockholm Convention for consideration at the sixth meeting of the Conference of the Parties, scheduled to be held from 28 April to 10 May 2013, in Geneva.

The Committee adopted a total of 12 decisions, including on industrial chemicals chlorinated naphthalenes (CNs) and hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD), and the pesticide pentachlorophenol (PCP) and its salts and esters, which now will move forward to the next stage of review.

The Committee adopted risk profiles of CNs and HCBD. Regarding short-chained chlorinated paraffins, the Committee agreed that the information was currently insufficient to support a decision on the risk profile and agreed to consider any new information that may be made available to the Committee and to consider the chemical again at its eleventh meeting.

“As the premier scientific body supporting the global elimination of persistent organic pollutants, the POPs Review Committee has built upon its past successes and recommended yet another highly toxic POP – HBCD – for global elimination, and made great progress in its work on several other hazardous chemicals,” said Jim Willis, Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.

Note for Editors:

The Stockholm Convention on POPs regulates chemicals that are persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic, to protect human health and the environment globally. Article 8 of the Convention entails the reviewing process of new chemicals and Annex D, Annex E and Annex F specify the information required for the review.

The POPs Review Committee consists of thirty-one scientific experts elected by the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention charged with undertaking scientific review of chemicals proposed for listing. The Committee met in Geneva, Switzerland, from 15 to 19 October 2012.

Chlorinated naphthalenes were used for decades for wood preservation, as an additive to paints and engine oils, and for cable insulation and in capacitors. Until the 1970s, CNs were high volume chemicals.

Hexachlorobutadiene was a widely used fumigant used to control pests and as an industrial solvent. HCBD also occurs as a by-product during production of other chlorinated solvents.

Pentachlorophenol (PCP) is an organochlorine compound used as a pesticide and a disinfectant. A wealth of data on the adverse effects of pentachlorophenol in mammals show developmental, immunotoxic and neurotoxic effects. Human survivors of toxic exposures may suffer permanent visual and central nervous system damage.

Short-chained chlorinated paraffins (SCCP) are a group of industrial chemicals used in metalworking, and the formulation and manufacturing of products such as 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 are toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms.

The ninth meeting of the POPs Review Committee will be held in Rome, Italy, from 14 to 18 October 2013 back-to-back with the Chemical Review Committee of the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade.

The following ten persistent organic pollutants had been recommended previously to the Conference of the Parties by the POPs Review Committee and have now been added to the Convention:

Contact:

Kei Ohno, Programme Officer, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (UNEP), Geneva, tel. +41 (22) 917 8201, e-mail: kohno@pops.int

Michael S. Jones, Public Information Officer, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (UNEP), Geneva, tel. +41-22-917-8668; (m) + 41-79-730-4495, e-mail: SafePlanet@unep.org

 

POPRC.7 Photo Gallery

Photo gallery: Seventh meeting of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC7)
Seventh meeting of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC)
Geneva, Switzerland
10 - 14 October 2011