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.
This week in Rome, the Stockholm Convention POPs Review Committee is considering its final recommendations to governments about listing flame retardant, DecaBDE, in the Stockholm Convention for global elimination. The auto and aerospace industries have pressured the Committee to exempt certain uses of DecaBDE. In addition, the UK government has pushed for sweeping exemptions for uses in military vehicles and airplanes.
Surprisingly, an IPEN examination of submissions to the Committee revealed that the UK government submitted virtually identical comments as the UK Aerospace, Defence, Security and Space industry association (ADS). For example, the UK and ADS submissions identically claim that the, “cost and time required to re-certify a change of flame retardant is substantial and we believe presents a disproportionate impact on our industry.”
IPEN Science and Technical Advisor, Joe DiGangi, said that, “Promoting industry lobbyist comments as a government submission is a clear conflict of interest, disrespectful to the UK public, and completely undermines the credibility of the government.”
IPEN, currently in Rome for the 12th meeting of the Stockholm Convention's POPs Review Committee (POPRC), today made an intervention on PFOA in plenary. The intervention, delivered by IPEN Senior Advisor Dr. Mariann Lloyd-Smith, described how PFOA's toxicity has for years made it an appalling threat to the health of communities all over the world, and reminded participants of the Committee meeting that the industry has known since at least 1961 that PFOA is toxic. PFOA contamination is linked to ulcerative colitis, high cholesterol, pregnancy-induced hypertension, thyroid disease, testicular cancer and kidney cancer.