Public views sought on persistent organic pollutants

The Environmental Protection Authority is seeking public views on a proposal that New Zealand ratify international agreements on banning and controlling some of the world’s most toxic and persistent substances.

The Acting General Manager of the Hazardous Substances Group, Gayle Holmes, says parties to both the Stockholm and Rotterdam Conventions meet every two years and decide on the addition of any new chemicals to the list of those that should be banned or restricted.

“This is important work where key global players agree to eliminate or restrict the use and production of the worst of the worst chemicals in the world,” says Gayle.

“But in order for this to take place in New Zealand, amendments are required to the relevant New Zealand laws.”

The Stockholm Convention bans and restricts persistent organic pollutants while the Rotterdam Convention focuses on cooperation between member countries about these chemicals.

“Persistent organic pollutants are dangerous substances that remain in the environment and can accumulate in the bodies of people and other living things,” says Gayle.

The Stockholm Convention has called for the ban of decabromodiphenyl ether, which is a flame retardant that was commonly used in plastics in electronic equipment, and in textiles in furniture and carpets.

Additionally, short-chain chlorinated paraffins, which were used in rubber, paints, adhesives and sealants, and metal-working cutting fluids, have made the list.

The Rotterdam Convention has added the pesticides carbofuran and trichlorfon to their watch list, both of these chemicals have been reassessed under the HSNO Act, and were subsequently prohibited for use as pesticides in New Zealand in 2011.

It is proposed that Tributyl tin compounds, commonly used on an industrial scale as boat anti-fouling paint prior to 2000, will now be subject to more notification and control between member states.

The public can provide feedback on our website until 16 July 2018.

Online submissions can be made HERE. 

Source: Environmental Protection Authority

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