For a world free of hazardous chemicals
Federal Environment Agency applauds progress in international chemicals safety
Two government congresses held this month made considerable progress in matters of international chemicals safety. The Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention and the Second International Conference on Chemicals Management took place in short succession so as to lend the decisions reached at them even more weight. This represents one big step made toward achieving mitigation or elimination of the harmful effects caused to mankind and the environment by chemicals by 2020, as was resolved by the world community at the Rio Summit in 2002. On the occasion of the Conference of Parties in Geneva, the Stockholm Convention-also known as the POPs Convention- has added nine more persistent chemicals which accumulate in the food chain, or POPs (persistent organic pollutants), to the original ”dirty dozen” list. The Convention entered into force in May 2004 and initially regulated twelve POPs, including PCB, DDT or polychlorinated dioxins and furans. These substances are present in a range of plant protection agents and industrial chemicals, or may appear as unwanted by-products in production and combustion processes. The list now features 21 chemicals. ”The expanded list of internationally outlawed chemicals makes a decisive step towards creating a world without overly hazardous chemicals. Strict compliance monitoring must now follow the success of negotiations in Geneva”, commented Dr. Thomas Holzmann, Vice President of the Federal Environment Agency (UBA).