Rotterdam Convention: Committee Recommends Measures for Additional Chemicals

At their 14th meeting, held in Rome in mid-September, members of the committee of the Rotterdam Convention of the United Nations suggested including the industrial chemicals hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD); perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), its salts, and all PFOA-related compounds; and pesticides phorate and acetochlor in Annex III of the Rotterdam Convention. All the chemicals on this list are subject to the prior informed consent (PIC) procedure.

According to the procedure, companies can import the hazardous chemicals listed in the Annex only after the member state involved has already been informed about the properties of the chemicals and their associated risks. The member state must expressly agree to the import. The EU hopes that the procedure serves as a control function. The importing states are often developing or emerging nations that have little or no capacity to evaluate and monitor chemicals.

The next meeting of the Conference of the Parties, to be held in Geneva from April 29 to May 10, 2019, will decide on the inclusion of the chemicals noted above in the list.

The Rotterdam Convention is the first international treaty on the import and export of chemicals. It was initiated in Rotterdam on September 10, 1998 and went into force on February 24, 2004. Currently,160 countries have ratified the Convention.

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