POPRC-19 recommends international measures to eliminate hazardous chemicals

Scientists at the 19th Persistent Organic Pollutant Review Committee (POPRC-19) meeting agreed that two chemicals should be considered hazardous and controlled under the Stockholm Convention of the United Nations.

In a crucial step in protecting human health and the environment, a Committee of expert scientists gathered at the POPRC-19 meeting in Rome, Italy, to review hazardous chemicals and to decide whether to recommend that they be included in the Stockholm Convention, so countries take measures to eliminate or restrict production and use and manage their wastes.

The family of chemicals known as medium-chain chlorinated paraffins has been recommended to be listed for elimination under the convention. These chemicals are often used in metalworking fluids as lubricants and coolants and can also be used as an additive to make plastic softer. They are also used in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) products, as well as in paints, sealants, and rubber. However, scientists have concluded they pose a significant risk to human health, due to their ability to last over time in the human body without breaking down, leading to severe health conditions including cancer.

Long-chain perfluorocarboxylic acids have been recommended to be listed for elimination under the convention. These chemicals belong to the family of PFAS, known as ‘forever chemicals’. Owing to their water, stain, and grease-resistant properties, they are commonly used in industrial and consumer products such as in the manufacture of semiconductors, printing inks, paints and coatings, paper and food packaging, waterproof textiles, cleaning products, and firefighting foams.

Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, Rolph Payet, said:

“The outcome of this meeting continues the dynamic science of the Stockholm Convention in identifying and eliminating persistent organic pollutants.

This week builds on the world-leading scientific research that has been carried out under the Stockholm Convention, to protect the environment, biodiversity, and human health.”

The Committee agreed that these chemicals may still be used in specific circumstances. The recommendations for listing including specific exemptions will be considered at the next meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention, which will take place in 2025.

In addition to these decisions, POPRC-19 adopted the risk profile for the highly toxic pesticide ‘chlorpyrifos’, meaning that the chemical will now be considered for recommendation at the next POPRC meeting. Chlorpyrifos is a highly toxic insecticide widely used in agriculture. It poses significant health risks, is particularly dangerous to children and pregnant women, and has adverse effects on the nervous system.

Over the next year, the Committee will assess information on socio-economic considerations and possible control measures for chlorpyrifos as part of its risk management evaluation and will consider a recommendation for listing.


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.

The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, adopted in 2001 and entered into force in 2004, is a global treaty requiring its Parties to take measures to eliminate or reduce the release of POPs into the environment, to protect human health and the environment from chemicals that remain intact for long periods, become widely distributed geographically, accumulate in the fatty tissue of humans and wildlife, and have harmful impacts on human health or on the environment.

The 19th meeting of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC-19) was chaired by Dr Peter Dawson from New Zealand, and was held at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 9 - 13 October 2023.

During this meeting, POPRC-19 recommended the inclusion of two groups of chemicals in Annex A for elimination: chlorinated paraffins with carbon chain lengths in the range C14–17 and chlorination levels at or exceeding 45 per cent chlorine by weight, commonly referred to as ‘medium-chain chlorinated paraffins’ or MCCPs, and long-chain perfluorocarboxylic acids, their salts and related compounds.

For information on the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee of the Stockholm Convention, contact: Kei Ohno Woodall, BRS Secretariat Senior Coordination Officer, kei.ohno@un.org

For media inquiries, contact: Asana Greenstreet, BRS Secretariat Public Information Officer, asana.greenstreet@un.org