Hazardous chemical recommended for elimination by UN experts

14 October 2011 – A United Nations-backed panel of experts has recommended that a toxic flame retardant be added to a watch list of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) designed to eliminate the impact of hazardous chemicals on human health and the environment.

At a week-long meeting in Geneva that wrapped up today, the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee, a body of 31 scientific experts, recommended the addition of the chemical hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) to the POPs watch list.

Under the Stockholm Convention on POPs, which is administered by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) industrial production of HBCD, a flame retardant widely used in polystyrene for electrical and electronic equipment as well as textile coatings, would ultimately be eliminated.

“The POPs review committee has again cleared the high bar set by governments for rigorous scientific review of chemicals proposed for action and advanced the global agenda of eliminating the world’s most dangerous toxic chemicals,” said Jim Willis, the recently appointed Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, celebrating the decision.

The decision on HBCD was among more than a dozen measures taken by the scientific experts to boost global action against highly toxic and persistent chemicals.

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