Nine new POPs

At the Fourth Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention in May 2009, 9 new chemicals were added to the POPs list: chlordecone, pentachlorobenzene, lindane, alfa-hexachlorocyclohexane, beta-hexachlorocyclohexane, hexabromobiphenyl, pentabromodiphenyl ether, octabromodiphenyl ether; perfluorooctane sulfonate.

Chlordecone. Chlordecone is an agricultural organochlorine pesticide, also known as Kepone and Мегех. First produced in 1951, its application began in 1958. At present chlordecone production and application have been discontinued, though in the past it was used in different parts of the world to control wide range of pests.

Chlordecone is characterized by acute and chronic toxicity. It is neurotoxic, immunotoxic, toxic to the reproductive system, liver and skeletomuscular system. Chlordecone is very dangerous for aquatic organisms, invertebrates being most vulnerable. Has a high bioaccumulation potential, does not degrade in water and soil. Model studies and physicochemical properties suggest that chlordecone can be transported over long distances.

Pentachlorobenzene. Pentachlorobenzene was used as a pesticide and antipyren, it was used with PCBs in dielectric fluids in electric equipment. Used as an intermediate product to manufacture pentachloronitrobenzene pesticide (quintozene). Pentachlorobenzene can be present as an impurity in some organochlorine solvents and pesticides.

In humans pentachlorobenzene can affect the reproductive system, liver and kidneys. Pentachlorobenzene toxic to aquatic organisms and causes long-term changes in the aquatic ecosystem.

Lindane. Lindane (gamma-hexachlorocyclohexane, gamma - HCH) is an insecticide widely used to control a wide range of plant-eating and soil-borne pests, pests affecting human health and animal parasites.

Studies of the lindane impact on humans and animals show that it is hepatoxic, toxic to the immune system, affects the hematopoietic system, reproductive functions and development. Lindane is highly toxic to bees and other useful insects.

Alfa- and beta-hexachlorocyclohexane. Alfa- and beta-hexachlorocyclohexane (alpha-HCH and beta-HCH) are HCH stereoisomers, they are formed as byproducts during production of lindane. For each ton of lindane produced, up to eight tons of these isomers are formed. They are parts of the technical and enriched HCH, and, accordingly, of the products made of it, though they lack specific insecticidal properties. Generally considered as hazardous waste.

Hexabromobiphenyl. Hexabromobiphenyl (HBB) was used since 1970 as an antipyren (fire retardant) of thermoplastics, in the construction industry, in machine housings, in industrial and electric products, and in polyurethane foam used for vehicles upholstery.

HBB is hepatoxic, affects the thyroid gland, disrupts the endocrine system, including reproductive functions. Classified as a carcinogen. In the environment it is highly resistant, can bioaccumulate, capable of long-range transport.

Pentabromodiphenyl ether. Pentabromodiphenyl ether (pentaBDE) belongs to polybrominated diphenyl ethers. Was used as an antipyren. Commercial pentaBDE may contain 3.6 bromine atoms (basic compounds – tetraBDE, pentaBDE and hexaBDE).

Toxicity studies have revealed reproductive toxicity and adverse effects on thyroid hormones and animals. In the environment it is highly resistant, can bioaccumulate, capable of long-range transport.

Octabromodiphenyl ether. Octabromodiphenyl ether (octaBDE) belongs to polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). Was used as an  antipyren specifically for ABS resins in office equipment. Commercial octaBDE can contain 6-8 bromine atoms (basic compounds - hexaBDE, heptaBDE and octaBDE).

In the environment it is highly resistant, can bioaccumulate, capable of long-range transport.

Perfluorooctane sulfonate (perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, its salts, perfluorooctane sulfonyl). PFOS and related chemicals are used in the manufacture of: fire foams, carpets, leather garments, textiles, upholstery, paper and packaging, paint materials, cleaning products for industrial and household use, pesticides and insecticides; in the photographic industry, photolithography, production of semiconductors, hydraulic fluids and metal plating.

PFOS, as a result of long-range transport, is likely to cause significant adverse effects on human health and the environment. Sources of PFOS emissions into the environment: production, industrial or consumer use and waste disposal. PFOS is very resistant to environmental degradation. PFOS has toxic effects on the reproductive system in animals, it is also toxic to aquatic organisms. PFOS is found in human blood and breast milk.