UN Expert Committee recommends global action on outdated DDT-Contaminated Pesticide
(Rome, Italy) A UN technical committee has determined that Dicofol, an outdated DDT-contaminated pesticide should be eliminated globally under the Stockholm Convention, an international treaty that bans the world’s most hazardous chemical pollutants.
The week-long meeting of the Stockholm Convention’s expert committee was held from 17-20th October 2017 and attended by many industry associations and companies involved in the production and use of fluorinated chemicals.
In Rome, the expert committee tackled a recommendation for adding PFOA to the treaty, including possible exemptions for continued uses. PFOA is known as the ‘Teflon chemical’ or C8 and has widely polluted drinking water throughout the world. The Committee began evaluation of the industry’s fluorinated substitute, PFHxS, which has been widely used as an alternative for PFOS.
In 2015, the EU nominated PFOA for listing in the Stockholm Convention and agreed to lead the evaluation drafting process. However, instead of carrying out the work in-house, the EU hired an industry consultancy (BiPRO). This resulted in proposals for a sweeping set of loopholes that undermine a global ban. BiPRO’s client list includes companies that make and/or use fluorinated chemicals, including PFOA.
A survey of children’s products in 10 countries1 finds widespread contamination with an industrial chemical recommended for global prohibition. Short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs) are industrial chemicals primarily used in metalworking, but also as flame retardants and softeners in plastics. Their harmful properties have attracted global concern and a Stockholm Convention expert committee has recommended world-wide elimination of SCCPs under the treaty. SCCPs adversely affect the kidney, liver, and thyroid; disrupt endocrine function; and are anticipated to be human carcinogens.
The Stockholm Convention established a science-based process for new persistent organic pollutants (POPs) under the Stockholm Convention. The Convention recognizes that a lack of full scientific certainty should not prevent a candidate substance from proceeding in the evaluation or listing and clearly mandates Parties to decide on listing “in a precautionary manner.” This new Guide highlights three new candidates for listing in the Convention in 2017 - decabromodiphenyl ether (DecaBDE), short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs), and hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD) - and provides the POPs Review Committee's recommendation for which annex the POPs should be listed under in the Convention, the chemicals' uses, alternatives, adverse effects, and more.