Two more pesticides recommended for trade "watch list"
Experts flag endosulfan and tributyl tin compounds
27 March 2007, Rome - A committee of worldwide experts has taken additional steps leading to the inclusion of two pesticides – endosulfan and tributyl tin compounds – in 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.
Widely used around the world, particularly for cotton, endosulfan has been recommended for inclusion on the grounds that is poses unacceptable risks to workers and to the environment. Tributyl tin compounds (TBT), used in anti-fouling paints for ship hulls, are a concern because they enter the marine environment, particularly in enclosed harbours, where they are toxic to fish, molluscs and other organisms.
Governments will decide when they meet in Rome in 2008 for their biannual Conference of the Parties of the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure for certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade whether to accept the guidance forwarded this week by the Convention’s Chemical Review Committee.
Some 70 000 different 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 severely restricted in industrialized countries are still marketed and used in developing countries. Too often they are sold to farmers who lack the equipment and knowledge to use them safely, resulting in large numbers of injuries and even deaths. In other cases, stockpiles of obsolete or unwanted chemicals and pesticides accumulate and then require vast sums of money to clean up.
Jointly supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Rotterdam Convention enables its member governments to benefit from the experiences and mistakes of others by promoting transparency and information sharing about potential risks to human health and the environment.
Any trade in the list of pesticides and industrial chemicals included in the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure under the Convention must first be agreed upon by the importing country (see footnote for the current listing of 39 substances). This gives developing countries, in particular, the power to decide which potentially hazardous chemicals or pesticides they want to receive and to exclude those they cannot manage safely.
Exporting countries are responsible for ensuring that no exports leave their territory when an importing country has made the decision not to accept the chemical or pesticide in question.
In this way, the Convention helps governments to improve their national capacity for chemicals management, avoid environmental and health tragedies and minimize clean-up costs. It also encourages the chemicals industry to identify and promote safer alternatives.
Michael Williams, UNEP
(+41) 22 917 8242/8196/8244
(+41) 79 409 1528
Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesman
(+254) 2 62 3084
(+254) 733 632755
Erwin Northoff, FAO Media Relations
(+39) 06 5705 3105
(+39) 348 2523616
The chemicals on the Convention’s PIC list includes the following hazardous pesticides: 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.
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