This week in Rome, the Stockholm Convention POPs Review Committee is considering its final recommendations to governments about listing flame retardant, DecaBDE, in the Stockholm Convention for global elimination. The auto and aerospace industries have pressured the Committee to exempt certain uses of DecaBDE. In addition, the UK government has pushed for sweeping exemptions for uses in military vehicles and airplanes.
Surprisingly, an IPEN examination of submissions to the Committee revealed that the UK government submitted virtually identical comments as the UK Aerospace, Defence, Security and Space industry association (ADS). For example, the UK and ADS submissions identically claim that the, “cost and time required to re-certify a change of flame retardant is substantial and we believe presents a disproportionate impact on our industry.”
IPEN Science and Technical Advisor, Joe DiGangi, said that, “Promoting industry lobbyist comments as a government submission is a clear conflict of interest, disrespectful to the UK public, and completely undermines the credibility of the government.”
IPEN, currently in Rome for the 12th meeting of the Stockholm Convention's POPs Review Committee (POPRC), today made an intervention on PFOA in plenary. The intervention, delivered by IPEN Senior Advisor Dr. Mariann Lloyd-Smith, described how PFOA's toxicity has for years made it an appalling threat to the health of communities all over the world, and reminded participants of the Committee meeting that the industry has known since at least 1961 that PFOA is toxic. PFOA contamination is linked to ulcerative colitis, high cholesterol, pregnancy-induced hypertension, thyroid disease, testicular cancer and kidney cancer.
In preparation for the 12th meeting of the Stockholm Convention's POPs Review Committee (POPRC), which will take place 19 – 23 September in Rome, IPEN has developed a Quick Guide to IPEN Views on POPRC12 (English and français). This document highlights IPEN's views on issues that the Committee will tackle at the meeting, including formal recommendations for listing two chemicals in the treaty: DecaBDE (flame retardant widely present in e-waste) and short-chained chlorinated paraffins (used in metalworking, and as flame retardants in PVC consumer products).
PFOA - the “Teflon chemical” - starts its journey to global elimination
(Rome, Italy) A UN expert committee recommended the global elimination of DecaBDE – a toxic flame retardant chemical widely used in electrical equipment and present in e-waste. In its recommendation for the Stockholm Convention, the Committee cited DecaBDE’s persistence, bioaccumulation, long-range transport, and its toxic impacts. Governments around the world will decide on the recommendation in May 2017, but typically accept the recommendations of its expert committees.
The Committee decision recommends that governments consider granting specific exemptions for use of DecaBDE in some legacy spare parts in the automotive and aerospace industries. The Boeing Company and the Aerospace and Defence industries Association of Europe and the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) pressured for these exemptions but when asked, could not specify which parts they claim need to be exempted.