Global PIC Treaty a Step Forward, Says WWF, But Outright Elimination of Hazardous Chemicals Remains the Big Gap | WWF

Global PIC Treaty a Step Forward, Says WWF, But Outright Elimination of Hazardous Chemicals Remains the Big Gap

Posted on 10 September 1998    
GLAND, Switzerland: The conservation organization WWF welcomes the signing of a new convention - Prior Informed Consent (PIC) to control trade in highly dangerous pesticides and other chemicals in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

The Convention for the Application of the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, popularly known as the global PIC treaty, will enter into force once fifty countries have ratified it. The goal is to provide importing countries a more informed basis for deciding which chemical to accept or reject, and make trade subject to labelling requirements and information on potential health and environmental effects.

It's good to see that governments are committed to making trade in hazardous chemicals a more transparent, informed, consensual process, said Clifton Curtis, WWF's Toxics Campaign Director. However, these new, legally-binding measures should have been put in place long ago to get a better handle on industrialized countries' export of banned or severely restricted chemicals and pesticides to other countries.

A voluntary PIC procedure has been operating since the late 1980s, based on UNEP's amended London Guidelines for the Exchange of Information on Chemicals in International Trade and the FAO's International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides.

WWF believes the new, legally binding PIC agreement will reduce trade-related environmental threats, affording protections that benefit workers, farmers and consumers, as well as wildlife. But for developing countries now producing chemicals banned by industrialized countries, the trade hook is useless for domestic use, and the PIC concept, more broadly, is of little value for developing countries that lack effective regulatory regimes.

Beyond these PIC-focused concerns, said Curtis, what's critically needed, and long overdue, is a global commitment to phasing out and eliminating the most hazardous chemicals and pesticides that are being produced, used and traded in developing , as well as developed, regions of the world. Governments should be taking action now, to get rid of chemicals with endocrine disrupting, bioaccumulative or persistent properties, rather than talking and delaying those decisions while the impacts only get worse.

The PIC Convention will cover 22 hazardous pesticides: 2,4,5-T, aldrin, captafol, chlordane, chlordimeform, chlorobenzilate, DDT, dieldrin, dinoseb, 1, 2-dibromoethane (EDB), fluoroacetamide, HCH, heptachlor, hexachlorobenzene, lindane, pentachlorophenol and mercury compounds and certain formulations of Monocrotophos, methamidophos, phosphamidon, methyl-parathion and parathion. It will also cover 5 industrial chemicals: crocidolite, polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polychlorinated terphenyls and Tris (2,3 dicromopropyl) phosphate.


For further information, contact: Clifton Curtis at +1 202 861 8379 or Someshwar Singh at +4122364 95 53.

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