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The Stockholm Convention

on Persistent Organic Pollutants

The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) entered into force on 17 May 2004. Australia ratified the Convention on 20 May 2004, and obligations of the POPs Convention entered into force for Australia on 18 August 2004.

 

The objective of the Stockholm Convention is to protect human health and the environment from the effects of POPS, which are toxic, persistent in the environment, accumulate in the food chain and become widely distributed geographically. The Convention sets out a range of control measures to reduce and eliminate POPS releases, including emissions of by-product POPS, and to ensure the sound management of stockpiles and wastes containing POPS.

 

Initially, the Convention will cover control measures on 12 POPS, including the industrial chemicals polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), hexachlorobenzene and the by-products dioxins and furans. However, Article 3 of the Stockholm Convention requires parties to the Convention to take into account POPS characteristics when conducting assessments on new and existing chemicals. The POPS characteristics are persistence, bioaccumulation, potential for long-range environmental transport and adverse effects on human health and the environment.

 

During assessment of industrial chemicals, both new and existing, NICNAS will take into consideration the POPs criteria in Annex D of the Convention. For new industrial chemicals screening to identify potential POPS characteristics will be undertaken and additional data in accordance with the Information Requirements and Screening Criteria of Annex D of the Convention may be requested, in particular, information relating to persistence, bioaccumulation and toxicity (PBT).

 

Industry Guidance

For more information including industry guidance and the criteria for persistence, please refer to the Chemical Gazette, January 2004, page 28 (PDF 191 KB).

 

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