In 1995, the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) called for global action to be taken on POPs, which it defined as “chemical substances that persist in the environment, bio-accumulate through the food web, and pose a risk of causing adverse effects to human health and the environment”.
Following this, the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (IFCS) and the International Programme for Chemical Safety (IPCS) prepared an assessment of the 12 worst offenders. Known as the Dirty Dozen, this list includes eight organo-chlorine pesticides: aldrin, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, mirex and toxaphene; two industrial chemicals: hexachlorobenzene (HCB) and the polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) group; and two groups of industrial by-products: dioxins and furans.
The negotiations for the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants were completed on May 23rd 2001 in Stockholm, Sweden. The convention entered into force on May 17th, 2004 with ratification by an initial 128 parties and 151 signatories. Co-signatories agree to outlaw nine of the "dirty dozen" chemicals, limit the use of DDT to malaria control, and curtail inadvertent production of dioxins and furans. Parties to the convention have agreed to a process by which persistent toxic compounds can be reviewed and added to the convention, if they meet certain criteria for persistence and transboundary threat.
Although some critics have alleged that the treaty is responsible for the continuing death toll from malaria, in reality the treaty specifically permits the public health use of DDT for the control of mosquitoes (the malaria vector). From a developing country perspective, a lack of data and information about the sources, releases, and environmental levels of POPs, hampers negotiations on specific compounds, and indicates a strong need for research.
Several other substances are being considered for inclusion in the Convention. These are: hexabromobiphenyl, octaBDE, pentaBDE, pentachlorobenzene, short-chained chlorinated paraffins, lindane, α- and β-hexachlorocyclohexane, dicofol, endosulfan, chlordecone and PFOS.
Two cheers for global POPs: A summary and assessment of the Stockholm convention on persistent organic pollutants
Jan 01, 2002; I. INTRODUCTION The environmental and public health risks posed by persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are neither new nor newly...
Toxics Treaty: The Stockholm Convention Will Help Protect the Most Vulnerable from the World's Most Dangerous Family of Chemicals-Persistent Organic Pollutants
Jul 01, 2005; WHEN RESEARCHERS at Laval University in Montreal, Quebec, began testing in the 1980s for persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in...
NEW ZEALAND: NEW ZEALAND'S NATIONAL IMPLEMENTATION PLAN UNDER STOCKHOLM CONVENTION ON PERSISTENT ORGANIC POLLUTANTS
Dec 22, 2006; The government of New Zealand issued the following news release: The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants...