[health-vn] UN CONFERENCE CALLS FOR INTERNATIONAL PANEL TO WARN AGAINST DANGEROUS CHEMICALS
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Tue May 12 01:19:23 EST 2009
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: UN CONFERENCE CALLS FOR INTERNATIONAL PANEL TO WARN AGAINST DANGEROUS
Date: Mon, 11 May 2009 11:00:04 -0400
From: UNNews <UNNews at un.org>
To: <news4 at secint00.un.org>
UN CONFERENCE CALLS FOR INTERNATIONAL PANEL TO WARN AGAINST DANGEROUS CHEMICALS
New York, May 11 2009 11:00AM
A key speaker at a United Nations conference on managing the health risks posed
by everyday chemicals has called for the world body to create an international
panel of experts to help protect the public against the poisonous substances.
It has become increasingly urgent to manage chemicals in household products
safely to protect children and future generations, stressed former Swedish
Environment Ambassador Viveka Bohn at the opening of the second session of the
International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM2).
Although Governments and industry are responsible for tackling the health and
environment problems caused by chemicals, Ms. Bohn said that scientists have a
“key role to play in conveying and explaining to the public and to the
politicians, clearly and objectively, the latest knowledge on the effects of
exposure to chemicals, especially the ‘cocktail’ effect.”
There is wide agreement that much more research is needed on the unpredictable
impact of several chemicals found together, known as the cocktail effect.
In her address to the five-day conference in Geneva, read by her daughter Maria,
Ms. Bohn pushed for the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Health
Organization (WHO) to pool scientific research on chemicals and to establish an
international chemicals panel similar to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
In a related development, governments around the world banned nine chemicals on
Saturday, adding them on the list of 12 substances already prohibited under the
2001 Stockholm Convention.
The Stockholm Convention targets hazardous pesticides and industrial chemicals
that can kill people, damage the nervous and immune systems, cause cancer and
reproductive disorders and interfere with normal infant and child development.
“We now have a clear signal that Governments around the world take seriously the
risks posed by such toxic chemicals,” UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.
Adding the new chemicals to the Convention – administered by UNEP and signed by
152 governments – signals a shift reflecting “international concern on the need
to reduce and eventually eliminate such substances throughout the global
community,” added Mr. Steiner.
The week-long Conference of the Parties (COP), held in Geneva from 4 to 9 May,
also reached a decision on the endorsement of the DDT global partnership. While
DDT is targeted for eventual elimination, the Convention recognizes that some
countries will continue to use this pesticide to protect their citizens from
malaria and other diseases.
For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news
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