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  5. Fifteenth Meeting of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC.15) under the Stockholm Convention Held

Fifteenth Meeting of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC.15) under the Stockholm Convention Held

October 15, 2019

From October 1 to 4, 2019, the Fifteenth Meeting of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC.15) was held in Rome, Italy, as an opportunity for holding discussions on substances subject to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs Convention), an international agreement to control persistent organic pollutants (POPs).

At the meeting, the Committee decided on submission of a recommendation to the Conference of the Parties (COP) of additional listing of perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), its salts and PFHxS-related compounds in Annex A to the Convention as substances to be eliminated under the Convention. The Committee also decided that dechlorane plus, its syn-isomer and anti-isomer as well as methoxychlor should move to the next review stage requiring a draft risk profile.

1. Background

The POPs Convention aims to control POPs that are persistent in the environment, bioaccumulate, and are highly toxic to human beings and living organisms and that are concerned to be transported for long distances far from their place of release, e.g., polychlorinated bipheny (PCB) and 1,1,1-Trichloro-2,2-bis (4-chlorophenyl) ethane (DDT). Concerning the controlled chemicals, it stipulates the provisions concerning the elimination and limitation of manufacturing and use, and reduction of emissions as a result of unintended production.

The Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC) comprised of 31 experts of member countries, an organization to discuss whether or not certain substances should be listed under the POPs Convention, submits recommendations to COP of the listing of certain substances, which have been proposed by member countries, through three processes: [i] screening the proposed substances, [ii] risk profiling to scrutinize hazards of the proposed substances, and [iii] examining the need for risk management evaluation.

Following the determination by COP, member countries are required to regulate the manufacturing and use of target substances. Japan controls such substances under the Act on the Evaluation of Chemical Substances and Regulation of Their Manufacture, etc.

2. Details determined at POPRC.15

From October 1 to 4, 2019, POPRC.15 was held in Rome, Italy, and as representatives of Japan, Mr. Mineo Takatsuki, Visiting Researcher, Integrated Institute for Regulatory Science, Waseda University, as a POPRC member; and officials in charge of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) and domestic experts, as observers, attended the meeting. The details determined at POPRC.15 are as follows:

(1)Additional listing of substances in Annex A

  1. PFHxS, its salts and PFHxS-related compounds (proposal: Norway)
    Major use of these substances: Assistants for fluoropolymer processing, surfactants, etc.
    POPRC.15 held discussions on the need for risk management evaluations and the position of these substances under the POPs Convention (i.e., “elimination” of manufacturing and use) and decided on submission of a recommendation to COP for listing these substances in Annex A as substances to be eliminated under the POPs Convention without exemplifying any individual use.

(2) Examination of substances in question

  1. Dechlorane plus, its syn-isomer and anti-isomer (proposal: Norway)
    Major use: Flame retardants
    Concerning the proposal submitted by Norway, POPRC.15 held discussions on the persistence, concentrations, long-range transport and toxic properties of these chemicals and, as a result, it concluded that the chemicals meet the screening criteria in Annex D and decided to move the chemicals to the next review stage in order to prepare a draft risk profile for the next POPRC meeting.
  2. Methoxychlor (proposal: European Union)
    Major use: Pesticides
    Concerning the proposal submitted by the European Union, POPRC.15 held discussions on the persistence, concentrations, long-range transport and toxic properties of these chemicals and, as a result, it concluded that the chemicals meet the screening criteria in Annex D and decided to move the chemicals to the next review stage in order to prepare a draft risk profile for the next POPRC meeting.

3. Future schedule

The next POPRC (POPRC.16) will be held in Rome in mid-September 2020. The 10th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention (COP10), a meeting based on the results of POPRC.15 and POPRC.16, will be held in Kenya from the end of April to early May in 2021.

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Division in Charge

Chemical Management Policy Division, Manufacturing Industries Bureau