On January 28, 2022, the result of the 17th meeting of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC) of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (hereinafter “the Stockholm Convention”), which was held from January 24 to January 28, 2022 (POPRC17), was press released. The POPRC recommended listing methoxychlor, a pesticide, in Annex A (Elimination) to the Stockholm Convention without exemptions. The listing of Methoxychlor will be determined at the 11th Conference of the Parties (COP11) to the Stockholm Convention to be held in 2023. The POPRC also adopted the risk profiles for two types of plastic additives: Dechlorane Plus and its syn- and anti-isomers (additive-type chlorine-based flame retardants) and UV-328 (benzotriazole-type UV absorbers). For these substances, a draft risk management evaluation will be prepared to be reviewed at the POPRC’s 18th meeting (POPRC18), scheduled for late 2022. It was agreed that long-chain perfluorocarboxylic acids, their salts and related compounds, chlorinated paraffins (additive-type chlorinated flame retardants), and chlorpyrifos (pesticides) would all meet the screening criteria specified in Annex D to the Stockholm Convention. For these substances, draft risk profiles will also be prepared for discussion at POPRC18.
The POPRC meets on an annual basis and makes recommendations on chemical substances covered by the Stockholm Convention to the COPs through three three steps shown in the table below. The table also shows chemical substances scheduled to be reviewed at each step of the 18th meeting.
|step||Review content||Chemicals to be reviewed at the 18th meeting|
|1||The suitability of the screening criteria specified in Annex D (Information Requirements and Screening Criteria).||Currently no chemicals proposed by parties.|
|2||Consideration of draft risk profiles as specified in Annex E (Information Requirements for The Risk Profile).||
|3||Discussion of the draft “risk management evaluation||
Dechlorane Plus is used worldwide as an additive flame retardant in electric wire and cable sheathing, plastic roofing materials, connectors for TV and computer monitors, and as a non-plastic flame retardant in polymeric systems such as nylon and polypropylene plastics. It is widely detected in remote areas such as the Arctic and Antarctic, with reported toxic effects including endocrine disruption, oxidative stress and oxidative damage, and neurotoxicity. It is also reported to cross the blood-brain barrier and to be maternally transferred to offspring in several species, including humans. The highest concentration of Dechlorane Plus has been observed in workers who are occupationally exposed to the substance and residents living near manufacturing facilities and e-waste recycling sites in Asia.
UV-328 is a ubiquitous, high-volume additive which is commonly used as an UV stabilizer in plastic products including personal care products, rubber and coating materials. UV-328 has been found in the environment and biota away from its manufacture and use, including remote areas such as the Arctic and Pacific Ocean. UV-328 has been found to be transported with plastic debris and may subsequently be released from plastic debris and microplastics taken up by seabirds and other animals, accumulating in their tissues. With regard to humans, UV-328 has been detected in breast milk.
To date, the results for the following agenda items have not been publicized.
- Review of information regarding individual exemptions for Decabromodiphenyl ether and short-chain chlorinated paraffins; and
- Evaluation processes for Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), its salts and Perfluorooctane sulfonyl fluoride
- Review of the indicative list of substances covered by the listing of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), its salts and PFOA-related compounds in Annex A
- Long-distance environmental movement
UN experts recommend eliminating the toxic chemical methoxychlor and take steps towards eliminating plastic additive UV-328 and flame retardant Dechlorane Plus
Legislation on POPs management are also being considered in some Asian countries. For PFOA, its regulatory trend are summarized in the following page.
PFOA regulations in Asian countries