The 2001 Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) went into
force on May 17, marking the start of an ambitious international effort to rid
the world of a dozen dangerous chemicals:
The United States has signed the treaty but has yet to ratify it. However, the
Bush administration has pledged to support the effort.
"The Stockholm Convention will save lives and protect the natural environment -
particularly in the poorest communities and countries - by banning the
production and use of some of the most toxic chemicals known to humankind,"
said Executive Klaus Toepfer of the United Nations Environment Programme, under
whose auspices the convention was adopted.
"Over the next several years, national investments plus donor pledges of
hundreds of millions will channel more than [half a billion dollars] into an
overdue and urgently needed initiative to ensure that future generations do not
have to live as we do with measurable quantities of these toxic chemicals
stored in their bodies," he said.
Humans can be exposed to POPs through diet, occupational accidents and the
environment (including indoor). Exposure to POPs, either acute or chronic, can
be associated with a wide range of adverse health effects, including illness
and death. Laboratory investigations and environmental impact studies in the
wild have implicated POPs in endocrine disruption, reproductive and immune
dysfunction, neurobehavioural and disorders and cancer. More recently some POPs
have also been implicated in reduced immunity in infants and children, and the
concomitant increase in infection, also with developmental abnormalities,
neurobehavioural impairment and cancer and tumour induction or promotion. Some
POPs are also being considered as a potentially important risk factor in the
etiology of human breast cancer by some authors.
Many of these substances are still in use in at least some countries. The
paucity of reliable data regarding use and disposal has meant that it has not
been possible to accurately determine the quantities still in use, where they
are used, the specific crops to which the pesticidal substances are being
applied, and the direction and initiatives underway to eliminate these
substances throughout the world.
Governments will seek a rapid start to action against POPs when they meet for
the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention in Punta
del Este, Uruguay, in the first week of May 2005.
AplusA-online.de - Source: Stevens Publishing