GENEVA, Switzerland, May 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Governments at the Stockholm Convention Conference of the Parties (COP8) agreed to add three toxic chemicals to the treaty, DecaBDE, SCCPs, and HCBD.1 However, extensive loopholes were granted for DecaBDE and SCCPs and recent IPEN studies found both substances in children's toys.2
"This is the beginning of the end for DecaBDE, SCCPs, and HCBD," said Dr. Olga Speranskaya, IPEN Co-Chair. "We urge governments to move quickly to prohibit these substances and not prolong harm through the use of exemptions."
Governments vastly expanded exemptions for DecaBDE with extended time periods, but excluded its use in clothing and toys.3 A proposal that would have allowed toxic recycling of materials containing DecaBDE was withdrawn.
"Rejecting the toxic recycling exemption was a big achievement because it would have legitimized e-waste dumping," said Dr. Mariann Lloyd-Smith, IPEN Sr. Advisor. "Governments should not use a textile exemption to make baby blankets or other textiles that would expose children. The slogan of this meeting was, "A Detoxified Future." Let's not turn it into "A Toxified Future."
Many exemptions were included in the SCCPs listing including its use in PVC plastic but not for toys and children's products, reflecting concerns over findings of SCCPs in children's products.
"The decision to globally eliminate SCCPs is personal for me," said Pam Miller, IPEN Co-Chair and Arctic investigator. "I grew up near a major SCCPs manufacturer. They polluted the entire area and the community turned into a cancer cluster."
Unfortunately, delegates agreed to continue to allow recycling materials containing toxic flame retardants but warns against contaminating consumer products such as children's toys. An IPEN study2 shows that the toxic recycling policy contaminates children's products.
Governments added carbofuran, trichlorfon, SCCPs, and TBT to the Rotterdam Convention but the listing of carbosulfan, chrysotile asbestos, fenthion, and a paraquat formulation was blocked by a small number of countries.
1 DecaBDE (Decabromodiphenyl ether) is a flame retardant found in electronic waste. SCCPs (short-chain chlorinated paraffins) is used in metal working and as a flame retardant in plastics. HCBD (hexachlorobutadiene) is produced unintentionally in production of chlorinated hydrocarbons, PVC, and incineration processes.
3 DecaBDE exemptions include autos, aircraft, textiles, polyurethane foam for insulation, and parts for home appliances.