This Convention regulates the prohibition of – so far – 23 toxic chemicals called the POPs (Persistent Organic Pollutants).
The text of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants was adopted on 22 May 2001 and entered into force on 17 May 2004; 90 days after the 50th member country had ratified it.
The initial twelve POPs are Aldrin, Chlordane, DDT, Dieldrin, Endrin, Heptachlor, Hexachloro-benzene, Mirex, Toxaphene, Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) as well as Dioxins and Furans (unintentionally formed by-products as a result of incomplete combustion or chemical reactions).
At its fourth meeting held from 4 to 8 May 2009, the Conference of the Parties (COP) adopted amendments to Annexes A (elimination), B (restriction) and C (unintentional production) of the Stockholm Convention to list nine additional chemicals as persistent organic pollutants: Chlordecone, Hexabromobiphenyl, Lindane, Alpha Hexachlorocyclohexane and Beta Hexachlorocyclohexane, Tetrabromodiphenyl ether and Pentabromodiphenyl ether, Hexabromodiphenyl ether and Heptabromodiphenyl ether, Perfluorooctane Sulfonic Acid, its salts and Perfluorooctane Sulfonyl Fluoride, Pentachlorobenzene. These amendments entered into force on 26 August 2010.
During the fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties in April 2011, the Parties agreed to list Endosulfan in Annex A to the Convention, with specific exemptions. One year later, Endosulfan became the 22nd POP.
Finally, at its sixth meeting held from 28 April to 10 May 2013, the Conference of the Parties adopted an amendment to Annex A to list Hexabromocyclododecane with specific exemptions (decision SC-6/13). On 26 November 2014, one year after notification, the amendment listing HBCD in Annex A to the Stockholm Convention entered into force for most parties. The contracted parties to the Stockholm Convention must take the following measures:
- Production, use, import, and export of the 23 most dangerous POPs shall be eliminated or restricted. For DDT a special regulation has been stipulated, as this product is used in developing countries to fight malaria
- When constructing new plants/ installations measures shall be taken to minimize a possible production of POPs
- Stockpiles and wastes that are contaminated with POPs shall be recorded in an inventory and disposed of in an environmentally sound manner
- The use of devices containing PCB is still permitted until 2025, under the condition that certain safety precautions and conditions are fulfilled
- By the year 2028, however, all PCB equipment shall be disposed of in an environmentally sound manner