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pesticides  UNEP ON THE GROUND
Phase-out on the cards for more toxic chemicals

A highly toxic flame retardant commonly found in textiles and two pesticides used on potatoes are among substances whose production and use could be controlled following meetings among government-appointed chemical experts, NGOs and the private sector recently held by UNEP and FAO.


The retardant - known as decabromodiphenyl or decaBDE – is a Persistent Organic Pollutant (POP) that can be found in different forms in plastics, inks and window blinds for example. Its production and use was recommended to be eliminated following the 11th meeting of the Stockholm Convention POPs Review Committee, which was held in Rome from 19-23 October 2015.


“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 in Brazil, following the Review Committee meeting.


Carbosulfan and carbofuran are two toxic pesticides used on crops such as potatoes that were meanwhile recommended to be subject to the system for Prior Informed Consent (PIC), following the 11th meeting of the Rotterdam Convention’s Chemicals Review Committee, which was held back-to-back.


The PIC procedure is intended to help governments assess the risks connected with the handling and use of the chemical and make more informed decisions about future import and use of a chemical, taking into account local conditions. Both pesticides are already illegal in the EU, while use of decaBDE in the Union is being phased-out in some cases.


Countries will now decide on whether to follow the Committees’ recommendations at the next Conference of the Parties meetings for the Conventions, both of which will take place in 2017.


POPs are amongst the most toxic substances found on earth and pose serious threats to human health and the environment. They can be found in human breast milk, air, water and animals, including those living in polar regions.


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.


The Rotterdam Convention creates legally binding obligations for its 154 parties and currently covers 47 chemicals and pesticides.


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