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Daily News Archive
From May 4, 2001

President Bush Signs International Treaty on Persistant Organic Pollutants

President George W. Bush recently signed on to the international treaty with a goal to phase out twelve of the most toxic synthetic chemicals. Known as persistent organic pollutants (POPs) the twelve chemicals are DDT, Aldrin, Dieldrin, Endrin, Chlordane, Heptachlor, Hexachlorobenzene (HCB), Mirex, Toxaphene, Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), Dioxins, and Furans.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) began negotiating the POP treaty in 1998. John Buccini, Chairman of the negotiations and director of commercial chemicals for Environment Canada remarked at that initial meeting that "The positive spirit here makes it clear that the international community enthusiastically supports the need for a strong, effective treaty to reduce and eliminate these dangerous chemicals from our environment and from our bodies." Diplomats from 122 countries finalized the text of the legally binding treaty at the most recent meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa. The treaty sets out control measures covering the production, import, export, disposal, and use of POPs. Governments are to promote the best available technologies and practices for replacing existing POPs while preventing the development of new POPs. For more information about the POP treaty, visit the UNEP website at http://irptc.unep.ch/pops/.

Beyond Pesticides has been following the progress of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) reassessment of the wood preservatives, namely pentachlorophenol (penta), copper chromium arsenate (CCA) and creosote. Penta, a persistent organic pollutant that deserves to be listed in the POP in its own right, is contaminated with dioxins, furans and HCB. EPA has pledged to complete the Reregistration Eligibility Decisions (RED) on the wood preservatives in 2003, five years later than EPA originally stated.

For more information about penta, CCA and creosote, check out our reports Pole Pollution and Poison Poles available on this website.