Rotterdam Convention scientific committee successfully concludes its review of hazardous chemicals

The 19th Chemical Review Committee meeting recommended that chlorpyrifos and mercury be listed in Annex III to the Convention.

The 19th meeting of the Chemical Review Committee (CRC-19) of the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade convened in Rome, Italy, from 3 to 6 October 2023. Held at the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), CRC-19 recommended that chlorpyrifos and mercury be listed in Annex III and thus become subject to the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure of the Rotterdam Convention. The CRC experts will now start developing draft decision guidance documents to accompany the recommendations on those chemicals to be considered by the Convention’s governing body, the Conference of the Parties.

CRC-19 was chaired by Ms. Noluzuko Gwayi from South Africa, leading the intense deliberations among twenty-eight government-designated experts in chemicals management present and elected by the Conference of the Parties. Seventy-one observers representing twenty-four governments and twenty-six non-governmental organisations also participated in the meeting.

The CRC experts also finalized two draft decision guidance documents on paraquat and methyl bromide, previously recommended for listing in Annex III at the Committee’s eighteenth meeting.

The recommendations on the listing of chemicals, together with their draft decision guidance documents, will be considered during the next meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention (COP-12), which will be held in 2025 in Geneva. Should COP-12, based on the recommendations of the Committee, decide to amend Annex III to the Convention to list these chemicals, they will become subject to the PIC procedure. This enables the currently 165 Parties to the Rotterdam Convention to take informed decisions on potential future imports of these chemicals.

Chlorpyrifos is an insecticide widely used in agriculture. It is a highly toxic organophosphate insecticide known to have adverse effects on the nervous system, particularly to children and pregnant women, and genotoxic potential, hence posing significant health risks.

Mercury is used in particular in small-scale artisanal gold mining, as well as products such as lamps, batteries, medical and measuring devices and dental amalgam. It is a toxic heavy metal that, when absorbed into the human body, can cause severe neurological and developmental issues, as well as harm to the kidneys, lungs, and other vital organs. Mercury is subject to global regulation through the Minamata Convention, which aims to mitigate and reduce its environmental and human health impacts.

Methyl bromide, historically used as a soil fumigant and pest control agent in agriculture, is known for its high toxicity to humans and the environment. Due to its adverse environmental impacts and ozone-depleting properties, methyl bromide has been listed as a controlled substance under the Montreal Protocol, leading to efforts to phase out its production and use worldwide.

Paraquat is widely used as a herbicide to control weeds in agriculture. Paraquat is highly toxic, primarily affecting the lungs, skin, and other internal organs, with ingestion or inhalation leading to severe health risks, including pulmonary fibrosis and organ failure.

The Rotterdam Convention promotes shared responsibility and facilitates cooperative efforts among its Parties to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of hazardous chemicals and pesticides.


The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (BRS Secretariat) brings together the three leading multilateral environmental agreements that share the common objective of protecting human health and the environment from hazardous chemicals and wastes.


For information on pesticides under the Rotterdam Convention, contact: Christine Fuell, Executive Secretary a.i. of the Rotterdam Convention,


For information on industrial chemicals under the Rotterdam Convention, contact: Abiola Olanipekun, Chief, Science and Technical Assistance Branch,


For media inquiries, contact: Asana Greenstreet, BRS Secretariat Public Information Officer,