A major international agreement globally governs the production and use of POPs (Persistent Organic Pollutants): the Stockholm Convention.

In light of these fearsome substances, this text is a major step forward in the protection of the environment and citizens at the global level. It enables all the countries to protect themselves against risks associated with these toxic substances. Finally, it raise the global standards with regard to public health and protection of the environment.

The export and import of these substances is also regulated.

The Stockholm Convention

The Stockholm Convention on POPs is a global treaty adopted at Stockholm (Sweden) in May 2001 and entered into force  in May 2004. The list of Signatory States can be viewed on-line.

1. First, this convention aims to eliminate the substances recognised as POPs due to their specific characteristics, by prohibiting their production and use and by the destruction of stocks.

These measures pertain to the substances that are listed in appendix A of the text: aldrin, chlordane, chlordecone, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, hexabromobiphenyl, HCB, alpha-HCH, beta-HCH, lindane, mirex, PeCB, PCBs, endosulfan, hexa and heptabromodiphenyl ether, tetra and pentabromodiphenyl ether, hexabromocyclododecan (HBCD) and toxaphene.

2. Then, the text provides a  restriction on the use of POPs (given in appendix B) in absence of knowledge about the products in which they are used or in absence of alternative less toxic, as effective and  affordable. This is the case of DDT, perfluorooctane sulphonates (PFOS) and derived salts, and perfluorooctanesulphonyl fluoride (PFOSF).

3. Lastly, it restricts the emission of POPs not intentionally produced through human activity especially activity related to industry, transportation and the residential sector (HCB, PeCB, PCB, dioxins and furanes). These substances are given in appendix C.

Thus listed by the Convention in three appendices, the substances identified as POPs have grown from 12 (initial number) to 23 (present number).

Stakeholders to the Convention meet every 2 years to assess its effectiveness and make any required amendments to its appendices.

The list of substances regarded as POP's and the list of new substances under evaluation is available on-line. For further information, view the website www.pops.int and the heading "More about this topic".