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UN targets widely-used pesticide endosulfan for phase out

Geneva, 3 May 2011 - Representatives from 127 Governments meeting in Geneva last week agreed to add endosulfan to the United Nations' list of persistent organic pollutants to be eliminated worldwide. The action puts the widely-used pesticide on course for elimination from the global market by 2012.

The decision was among more than 30 measures taken by Parties to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) to boost global action against POPs.

The Parties agreed to list endosulfan in Annex A to the Convention, with specific exemptions. When the amendment to the Annex A enters into force in one year, endosulfan will become the 22nd POP to be listed under the Convention.

A Party may extend the phase out period of the pesticide by five years but only for a small number uses.

"The conference recognized that financial and technical support is required to facilitate the replacement of the use of endosulfan in developing countries and countries with economies in transition," said UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.

"In establishing a consultative process on finance for the chemicals and waste conventions, UNEP has responded to the need of those countries by seeking to make the sound management of hazardous chemicals a development priority of the green economy in which all countries can fully and fairly participate," he added.

Endosulfan is an organochlorine insecticide used in crops worldwide. It is mainly used on cotton, coffee and tea. Endosulfan can act as an endocrine disruptor, causing reproductive and developmental damage in both animals and humans

"New POPs present new challenges, as we are usually dealing with chemicals that are still widely used commercially," said Jim Willis, the newly appointed Executive Secretary of the Basel, Stockholm, and UNEP-part of the Rotterdam Convention Secretariats. "Parties have demonstrated that they can find creative solutions to speed the elimination of POPs and protect environment and human health from these dangerous chemicals."

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Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants


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