Global Stockholm Convention’s expert committee recommends elimination of PFHxS, and further examination on DP

The Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (hereinafter “POPRC” or “the Committee”) of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) (hereinafter “the Stockholm Convention”) held its 15th meeting (POPRC15) from October 1 to 4, 2019. Major outcomes of the POPRC15 are summarized as follows:

(1) The Committee decided to recommend the Conference of the Parties (COP) to add perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), its salts, and PFHxS-related compounds to the list of chemicals to be eliminated under the Stockholm Convention (Annex A) without specific exemption; and

(2) The Committee agreed that Dechlorane Plus and its syn-isomer and anti-isomer as well as methoxychlor met the screening criteria as set forth in Annex D and decided to proceed to the stage of developing draft risk profiles and conduct a detailed hazard study for these chemicals.

Additionally, the POPRC15 agreed to establish a working group on decabromodiphenyl ether and short-chain chlorinated paraffins to review information on specific exemptions for these chemicals.

 

Major outcomes of POPRC15

1. Recommendation on listing new chemicals

The POPRC adopted the risk management evaluation on perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), its salts, and a total of 147 PFHxS-related chemicals, which are used as substitutes for perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), both of which are now banned under the Stockholm Convention as toxic fluorine chemicals. The Committee unanimously decided to recommend the complete and global elimination of such chemicals to the COP. Fluorinated chemicals pollute a wide range of environment as they do not decompose in the environment, accumulate in wildlife and human bodies, and threaten drinking water sources, public health, and the health of firefighters. They are used in a wide variety of products including firefighting foam, textile waterproofing, food packaging, and other industrial and consumer applications.

2.Decision on candidate chemicals to be further examined

For chemicals listed (1) and (2) below, which have been proposed for addition to the list of chemicals to be eliminated, the POPRC examined their persistence, accumulation, long-range transport, and toxicity and reached a conclusion that both these chemicals met the screening criteria as set forth in Annex D. The Committee decided to proceed to the next step of developing draft risk profiles for these chemicals, preparing for the next POPRC meeting.

(1) Dechlorane Plus and its syn-isomer and anti-isomer

Dechlorane Plus (DP) is a flame retardant marketed as an alternative to decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE), used primarily in plastics for computer and television, wire and cable coatings, and polyurethane foam. DP is an allied substance of mirex, one of the 12 pollutants already on the Convention’s target chemical lists. Effects of exposure to DP include neurotoxicity, liver damage, and endocrine disruption.

(2) Methoxychlor

Methoxychlor is an insecticide developed as an alternative to DDT and is widely used in agriculture, mosquito control, bark beetle (causing Dutch elm disease) control, and veterinary applications. This chemical has been associated with an increased risk of breast cancer in humans, reproductive damage in animal experiments, and is toxic to aquatic organisms.

 

The 16th meeting of the POPRC (POPRC16) will be held in Rome in mid-September 2020 and the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP10) will be held in Kenya in late April or early May 2021.

NOTE:
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting above were postponed.
The sixteenth meeting of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee of the Stockholm Convention was held online from 11 to 16 January 2021. And, the COP10 was held in Kenya in July 2021.

 

News release on the 15th meeting of the Stockholm Convention’s Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC15) can be found at the following URL:
http://chm.pops.int/TheConvention/POPsReviewCommittee/Meetings/POPRC15/Overview/tabid/8052/Default.aspx