Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Toxic Chemicals Continue Down Banning Path

There is a growing movement toward out-right banning of many toxic chemicals throughout the world.

In another sign of this trend, at the conference for the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants in Geneva, Switzerland earlier this month there was an international agreement made on banning nine toxic chemicals.

The May 9th press release reads "Nine persistent organic pollutants (POPs) were listed today under the Stockholm Convention. Over 160 Governments have just concluded a one-week conference with practical decisions that will strengthen a global effort to eradicate some of the most toxic chemicals known to humankind."

Here are the chemicals to be eliminated from the planet, along with a "translation" --
  • Alpha hexachlorocyclohexane to Annex A; and Beta hexachlorocyclohexane to Annex A -- basically these have been used as solo killer insecticides in the past but now are by-products of other insecticides and chemicals used to treat lice. I'd take insects over soaking the planet with toxins -- anyone heard of integrative pest management?

  • Hexabromodiphenyl ether and heptabromodiphenyl ether to Annex A; and Tetrabromodiphenyl ether and pentabromodiphenyl ether to Annex A -- okay, these incredibly long names are actually used most often as flame retardants ... pajamas anyone?

  • Chlordecone to Annex A -- finally a shorter chemical name! This was a chemical used in the 50's as an agricultural pesticide. It is not known to be in use now. So, better we just wipe it off the planet before someone gets the bright idea to use it again.

  • Hexabromobiphenyl to Annex A -- another flame retardant, but this one was used in the 70s. Again, better to just ban it completely in case someone wants to use it again.

  • Lindane to Annex A -- this is an insecticide that has been decreasing in use over the years. Time to stop it all together.

  • Pentachlorobenzene to Annex A and C -- you'll find this beauty of a toxin in many items, PCB products, fungicides, solvents, pesticides, flame retardants, and as an unintentional by-product of industrial plants. Whew! It has literally soaked into our lives. Way past time to go!

  • Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, its salts and perfluorooctane sulfonyl fluoride to Annex B -- according to the Stockholm report, this chemical is "found in products such as in electric and electronic parts, fire fighting foam, photo imaging, hydraulic fluids and textiles" and is produced in many countries today. This ban could not come soon enough.

For more info on getting toxic chemicals out of our lives you can check out the extensive education and lists I provide in my book The Mom's Guide to Growing Your Family Green: Saving the Earth Begins at Home.

And here is another post I had on this subject from a couple of weeks ago.

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