Kei Ohno
Kei Ohno
Topic: COUNTDOWN TO THE TRIPLE COPs: Update on the listing of new chemicals under the Stockholm Convention
Kei is a Programme Officer in the Conventions Operations Branch, assigned as Deputy Chief of the Conventions Operations Branch. Her primary function is to coordinate the meetings of the subsidiary bod...
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Number of questions: [5]
Posted on 17/04/2015 11:50:01
I am interested to know, if a substance is solely harmful to human health...and not persistent or a pollutant... would not come under the Stockholm Convention? When you look at the substances being controlled by REACH, for example, I am wondering why only 23 substances are tackled at the global level. Is there a need for some global mechanism to address substances that impact the health of people globally? [And apologies if you received this question twice. I thought I sent it yesterday, but haven't received acknowledgement.]
Emma Chynoweth (from United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)
Dear Emma,

Thank you for the question. I received it twice but no problem at all.

The Stockholm Convention covers only "persistent organic pollutants". Whether the chemical is a POP or not is evaluated following the process and criteria provided in the Convention. The POPs Review Committee decides whether "the chemical is likely as a result of its long-range environmental transport to lead to significant adverse human health and/or environmental
effects such that global action is warranted". If you are interested in the criteria, please have a look at Annex D and E of the Convention (http://chm.pops.int/tabid/2232/Default.aspx).

It is important that global mechanism is available to address substances that are harmful to human health and the environment. International society has been working hard to identify and respond to such needs.

Many other global treaties have been agreed to address substances that require global actions, such as the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade (http://www.pic.int), Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal (http://www.basel.int), Minamata Convention on Mercury (http://www.mercuryconvention.org/) and Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (http://ozone.unep.org/new_site/en/montreal_protocol.php). The POPs Protocol of the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution also addresses POPs at the regional level (http://www.unece.org/fr/env/lrtap/pops_h1.html). The Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) provides a policy framework to foster the sound management of chemicals (http://www.saicm.org/).






Posted on 16/04/2015 12:37:57
I'm doing masters degree and currently undertaking some in depth research on the alternatives for POPs. Are there any alternatives available? Could you please mention what they are or guide me to a source where I can find out? Your assistance would be deeply appreciated!
Sarima Igwe (from Nigeria)
Dear Sarima,

Thank you for the question. For the chemicals that were proposed by parties for listing under the Stockholm Convention, the POPs Review Committee collected information on alternatives and developed documents called "risk management evaluation". You can find those documents here: http://chm.pops.int/tabid/243/Default.aspx

In addition, the Committee has developed documents containing information on alternatives to POPs:
- Guidance on feasible flame-retardant alternatives to commercial pentabromodiphenyl ether (UNEP/POPS/COP.4/INF24)
- Guidance on alternatives to perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, its salts, perfluorooctane sulfonyl fluoride and their related chemicals (UNEP/POPS/POPRC.9/INF/11/Rev.1)
- Technical paper on the identification and assessment of alternatives to the use of perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, its salts, perfluorooctane sulfonyl fluoride and their related chemicals in open applications (UNEP/POPS/POPRC.8/INF/17/Rev.1)
- Report on the assessment of alternatives to perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, its salts and perfluorooctane sulfonyl fluoride (UNEP/POPS/POPRC.10/INF/7/Rev.1)

The first three documents can be found here: http://chm.pops.int/tabid/345/Default.aspx
The last document can be found here: http://chm.pops.int/tabid/3779/Default.aspx



Posted on 16/04/2015 11:39:58
Dear Ms. Ohno
I'm curious about the documents you mentioned in your previous answer. Where can I find the risk profile and risk management evaluation documents? Thank you in advance.
Tamara Belov (from Ukraine)
Dear Tamara,

Thank you for the question.

The risk profiles and risk management evaluation documents were developed by the POPs Review Committee following Article 8 of the Stockholm Convention.

Those documents are available on the Convention's website:
http://chm.pops.int/Convention/POPsReviewCommittee/Chemicals/tabid/243/Default.aspx


Posted on 16/04/2015 11:09:45
Hi Kei,

Thank you very much for the comprehensive information on the chemicals to be considered. I was looking for the information on the use of the chemicals so it was very helpful.

I noticed that there was no recommendation for listing any chemicals in Annex B. Is this correct? Will the Conference of the Parties consider listing chemicals in Annex B also?

Andrew Wiles (from United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)
Dear Andrew,

Thank you for the question. According to paragraph 9 of Article 8 of the Stockholm Convention, "...The Conference of the Parties, taking due account of the recommendations of the Committee, including any scientific uncertainly, shall decide, in a precautionary manner, whether to list the chemical, and specify its related control measures, in Annexes A, B and/or C."

The Committee's recommendations to be considered at COP-7 are listing two chemicals in Annexes A and C, and one chemical in Annex A. The COP is to decide whether to list those chemicals in Annexes A, B and/or C.

Posted on 16/04/2015 05:34:33
Dear Dr. Kei,
Could you cast light on the new chemicals recommended by the Review Committee for Persistent Organic Pollutants to be included, by the forthcoming COP, in the Annexes of the Stockholm Convention?
Francis Bagambilana (from Tanzania (United Republic of))
Dear Francis,

Thank you for the question.
The POPs Review Committee (POPRC) recommended that the COP consider the following:

(1) List dichlorinated naphthalenes, trichlorinated naphthalenes, tetrachlorinated naphthalenes, pentachlorinated naphthalenes, hexachlorinated naphthalenes, heptachlorinated naphthalenes and octachlorinated naphthalene in Annex A, without specific exemptions, and in Annex C;
(2) List hexachlorobutadiene in Annex A, without specific exemptions, and in Annex C; and
(3) List pentachlorophenol and its salts and esters with specific exemption for the production and use of pentachlorophenol for utility poles and cross-arms.

You can find the draft text of amendments in documents UNEP/POPS/COP.7/18, UNEP/POPS/COP.7/19, and UNEP/POPS/COP.7/20, available online: http://chm.pops.int/tabid/4251/Default.aspx

Here is some background information:

(1) Polychlorinated naphthalenes:

You might be surprised to see the long list of chemical names, especially the first ones.

Chlorinated naphthtalenes comprise 75 possible congeners in eight homologue groups with one to eight chlorine atoms substituted around the planar aromatic naphthalene molecule. POPRC concluded that 73 chlorinated naphthalene congeners containing from two to eight chlorine (dichlorinated naphthalenes, trichlorinated naphthalenes, tetrachlorinated naphthalenes, pentachlorinated naphthalenes, hexachlorinated naphthalenes, heptachlorinated naphthalenes and octachlorinated naphthalene) are POPs.

POPRC recommended listing those chemicals in Annex A and Annex C to the Stockholm Convention. The POPs listed in Annex A are for elimination of intentional production and use, and those listed in Annex C are formed and released unintentionally from anthropogenic sources.

The following is information from the risk profile (UNEP/POPS/POPRC.8/16/Add.1) and risk management evaluation (UNEP/POPS/POPRC.9/13/Add.1) documents developed by POPRC:

Polychlorinated naphthalenes (PCN) have historically been used in many applications including: use as wood preservative, as additive to paints and engine oils, and for cable insulation and in capacitors.

Although PCN are not known to be currently intentionally produced or used, it is important to limit possible remaining uses and to prevent the re-introduction of those chemicals.

PCN are unintentionally generated during high-temperature industrial processes (particularly waste incineration, but also in other processes known to generate polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/PCDF)). Measures that reduce the release of PCDD/PCDF will also reduce releases of PCN. Monitoring of PCN will induce additional costs. Monitoring capacity for PCN is needed in developing countries and countries with economies in transition

PCN are released to an unknown extent from waste disposal sites and stocks of old appliances. PCN in stockpiles are particularly occurring in conjunction with PCB (i.e. in PCB containing waste disposal sites and in PCB containing equipment). Parties to the Stockholm Convention have already introduced measures to identify and manage PCB stockpiles. Measures that are in place with respect to PCB stockpiles will also efficiently reduce releases of PCN from stockpiles.

(2) Hexachlorobutadiene

Hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD) was also recommended for listing in Annex A and Annex C to the Stockholm Convention.

The following is information from the risk profile (UNEP/POPS/POPRC.8/16/Add.2) and risk management evaluation (UNEP/POPS/POPRC.9/13/Add.2) documents developed by POPRC:

Although hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD) is not known to be currently intentionally produced or used, it is important to prevent its re-introduction and manage the risks associated with its unintentional release.

HCBD is generated as an unintentional by-product from industrial processes (particularly the production of chlorinated hydrocarbons, production of magnesium). Measures to minimise releases from these sources, and technically feasible, cost-effective substitutes to key chlorinated hydrocarbons are known and already applied in countries that are parties to the Stockholm Convention.

HCBD is unintentionally generated during combustion and other thermal processes and industrial processes. Most measures to reduce unintentional releases of persistent organic pollutants from such processes will lead to significant reduction of HCBD releases. Monitoring of HCBD will induce additional costs. Monitoring capacity for HCBD is needed in developing countries and countries with economies in transition.

HCBD is released to an unknown extent from former waste disposal sites. Control measures to minimise such releases are available. There is no insight into the total amount of waste sites worldwide and it would be useful to establish information on the existence of relevant sites and manage them appropriately

(3) Pentachlorophenol and its salts and esters

Pentachlorophenol and its salts and esters were recommended for listing in Annex A with specific exemption for the production and use of pentachlorophenol for utility poles and cross-arms. Specific exemptions are time limited exemptions.

The following is information from the risk profile (UNEP/POPS/POPRC.9/13/Add.3) and risk management evaluation (UNEP/POPS/POPRC.10/10/Add.1) documents developed by POPRC:

Pentachlorophenol (PCP) was first introduced for use as wood preservative in the 1930s. Since its introduction, PCP has had a variety of other applications (e.g., biocide, pesticide, disinfectant, defoliant, anti-sapstain agent, anti-microbial agent and is used in the production of pentachlorophenyl laurate. The salt sodium pentachlorophenate was used for similar purposes as PCP and readily dissociates to PCP. The ester pentachlorophenyl laurate was used in textiles. Pentachloro anisol (PCA) is not used as a commercial chemical or pesticide and is not intentionally released directly into the environment. It can be produced through the transformation of PCP. PCA may result from the degradation of other structurally related chlorinated hydrocarbons, such as hexachlorobenzene, lindane, and pentachloronitrobenzene.

POPRC concluded, among others, that no specific exemption should be given to salts and esters of PCP, production of PCP shall be restricted only for uses of industrial wood preservation purposes for the treatment of utility poles and cross-arms.