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A Toxics-Free Future


Science Committee to Consider Recommendations for Global Rules on Highly Toxic Chemicals

The Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) Review Committee (POPRC) is a subsidiary body to the Stockholm Convention established for reviewing chemicals proposed for global regulation. The 19th meeting of POPRC will convene in Rome this October 9-13. 

IPEN has participated in the POPRC process since its inception. For the upcoming meeting, IPEN’s views on some major agenda items include:

  • Chlorpyrifos: IPEN supports moving this highly toxic pesticide forward in the POPRC process to a risk management evaluation, toward an eventual listing for global elimination. Abundant evidence shows chlorpyrifos is a developmental neurotoxin that can cause reduced IQ, loss of working memory, and attention deficit disorders. The EU rejected renewing approval in 2019 and the pesticide has been banned in several countries, including Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and Switzerland. In the US, the EPA banned its use on food crops in 2022 and California, Hawaii, New York, Maryland, and Oregon have banned chlorpyrifos. Organic and agroecological practices are safe substitutes for chlorpyrifos.
  • Chlorinated paraffins: these chemicals are widely used in plastics as flame retardants or plasticizers and also in many other applications. Short-chain chlorinated paraffins were added to the Stockholm Convention list for a global ban in 2017 but today medium-chain chlorinated paraffins (MCCPs) are produced at even greater quantities, even though MCCPs also pose health risks, including adverse effects on the liver, kidney, and thyroid gland. Safer alternatives for chlorinated paraffins are available. IPEN supports addition of MCCPs to the list of chemicals to be eliminated globally and opposes exemptions sought by industry that, if granted, would allow continued production and use of the toxic chemical for years to come (see more on the problems with exemptions here).
  • Long-chain perfluorocarboxylic acids (PFCAs): PFCAs are one type of PFAS “forever chemicals” used in personal care products, cleaning products, and in many grease- or stain-resistant products. Evidence shows exposure to PFCAs are associated with adverse health effects including toxicity to the liver, thyroid, immune system, developmental/reproductive health, and altered cardiometabolic function. Safer alternatives are available. IPEN supports addition of PFCAs to the list of chemicals to be eliminated globally and opposes exemptions, noting that POPRC should also recommend against using other PFAS as substitutes, a recommendation the committee included in its decisions on two other PFAS, PFOA and PFHxS.

IPEN will also host a side event at POPRC on alternatives assessment and ways to avoid hazardous (so-called “regrettable”) substitutions when a toxic chemical is regulated. 

For more information, see IPEN’s POPRC 19 Quick Views.