[enviro-vlc] Three Chemicals Considered for Trade 'watch list'
vern.weitzel at gmail.com
Fri Oct 17 21:32:56 EST 2008
Three Chemicals Considered for Trade 'watch list'
Protecting human health and the environment from hazardous chemicals
October 2008, Rome/Geneva – Ministers and officials from over 120 governments
will meet in Rome next week to decide whether to add two pesticides – endosulfan
and tributyl tin compounds – and the industrial chemical chrysotile asbestos to
a trade watch list that already contains 39 hazardous substances.
Those chemicals included in the so-called PIC list are subject to the Prior
Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure under the Rotterdam Convention, an
international treaty designed to ensure that hazardous chemicals do not endanger
human health and the environment.
The inclusion of a chemical on the PIC list is not a global recommendation to
ban it or severely restrict its use. The PIC procedure gives developing country
Parties the power to decide which of these chemicals they wish to receive and to
exclude those they cannot manage safely. Exporting Parties are responsible for
ensuring that no exports leave their territory when an importing country has
made the decision not to accept the chemicals.
"The Convention's focus on trade reflects international concerns regarding the
impact of hazardous chemicals and pesticides on human health and the environment
– a concern shared not only by scientists, technical specialists and
environmentalists but by the entire human family," said Executive Director Achim
Steiner of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which along with FAO
jointly manages the Convention secretariat.
Chemicals are proposed for inclusion on the list based on the recommendation of
a technical panel of experts. A key requirement is that two countries from two
different regions of the world must have banned or severely restricted the
Tributyl tin (TBT)compounds are pesticides used in antifouling paints for ship
hulls and are toxic to fish, molluscs and other aquatic organisms. The
International Maritime Organization has moved to ban the use of antifouling
paints containing TBT compounds.
Endosulfan is a pesticide widely used around the world, particularly in cotton
production. It is hazardous to the environment and detrimental to human health,
particularly in those developing countries where adequate safeguards do not exist.
Chrysotile asbestos is the most commonly used form of asbestos, accounting for
around 94 percent of global asbestos production. It is widely used in building
materials, such as asbestos cement, pipe and sheet, and in the manufacture of
friction products, gaskets and paper.
The International Labour Organization adopted a resolution in early 2006 calling
for the elimination of all uses of chrysotile asbestos. The resolution reflected
the World Health Organization's findings that it is associated with many
thousands of deaths worldwide from lung cancer and mesothelomia, a rare form of
cancer directly linked to asbestos.
A number of countries, including some that continue to mine and export
chrysotile asbestos, blocked its addition to the PIC list when the Parties to
the Convention last met in 2006. As a result the chemical will be reconsidered
at this meeting, and further opposition is anticipated.
"On the 10th anniversary of the Convention's adoption, it is crucial that we
ensure its continued relevance and effectiveness in enabling Parties to protect
human health and the environment, while keeping pace with the demands of human
development," said FAO Assistant Director-General, Agriculture and Consumer
Protection Department, Modibo T. Traoré.
Other issues on the agenda of the Fourth Meeting of the Conference of the
Parties to the Rotterdam Convention (COP 4) are synergies among the Rotterdam,
Basel and Stockholm Conventions, the three international treaties dealing with
hazardous substances. Participants will also further consider procedures and
mechanisms for non-compliance, and adopt a programme of technical assistance to
help Parties implement the Convention.
Some 70 000 chemicals are available on the market today, and around 1 500 new
ones are introduced every year. This can pose a major challenge to regulators
charged with monitoring and managing these potentially dangerous substances.
Many pesticides that have been banned or whose use has been severely restricted
in industrialized countries are still marketed and used unsafely in developing
The conference runs from 27 to 31 October at FAO Headquarters in Rome.
The Convention's list includes the following hazardous chemicals: 2,4,5-T,
aldrin, binapacryl, captafol, chlordane, chlordimeform, chlorobenzilate, DDT,
DNOC and its salts, ethylene dichloride, ethylene oxide 1,2-dibromoethane (EDB),
dieldrin, dinoseb, fluoroacetamide, HCH, heptachlor, hexachlorobenzene, lindane,
mercury compounds, monocrotophos, parathion, pentachlorophenol and toxaphene,
plus certain formulations of methamidophos, methyl-parathion, and phosphamidon,
as well as dustable-powder formulations containing a combination of benomyl at
or above 7 per cent, carbofuran at or above 10 per cent and thiram at or above
15 per cent. It also covers eleven industrial chemicals: five forms of asbestos
(actinolite, anthophyllite, amosite, crocidolite and tremolite), polybrominated
biphenyls (PBB), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), polychlorinated terphenyls
(PCT) tetraethyl lead, tetramethyl lead and tris (2,3 dibromopropyl) phosphate.
Further information is available at http://www.pic.int or by emailing pic at pic.int
Please Contact Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson, on Tel: +254 20 7623084 or
E-mail:nick.nuttall at unep.org
Teresa Buerkle, Media Relations FAO (Geneva), Tel: +41 22 917 2770 or +41 78 900
43 93 E-mail: teresamarie.buerkle at fao.org
Marcella Carew, Public Awareness Officer, Tel: +41 22 917 8103, E-mail:
mcarew at pic.int
UNEP Resources in Chemicals
More information about the enviro-vlc