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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2005 > December
Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
December 20, 2005


Department of State Welcomes Efforts to Implement Stockholm Convention

The U.S. Department of State welcomes recent efforts in Congress to consider legislation that would allow the United States to implement to Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), the Protocol on Persistent Organic Pollutants to the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP POPs), and the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade (PIC). The Administration strongly supports joining POPs and PIC and therefore urges Congress to approve implementing legislation as soon as possible.

President Bush expressed his strong backing for the POPs Convention in a Rose Garden ceremony in 2001. This Convention, signed by the U.S. in 2001, reduces or eliminates the production, use, and emissions of 12 chemicals, also known as the "dirty dozen." These chemicals, which include dioxins, PCBs and DDT, are unique because they have four intrinsic characteristics:
  • high toxicity;
  • the potential to accumulate in unhealthy quantities in humans and animals;
  • stability, making them resistant to natural breakdown; and,
  • transportability over long distances through the atmosphere and oceans.

POPs have been found in high concentrations in Alaska and the Great Lakes region, and have been linked to cancer, damage to the nervous system, reproductive disorders, and weakening of the immune system. The United States and other developed countries have implemented regulatory controls on POPs chemicals, but in developing countries some POPs are still widely used. Because these chemicals are transported long distances over national borders, it is in the U.S. interest to participate in global efforts to control them.

The LRTAP POPs Protocol was completed in 1998 and addresses POPs within the context of the 1979 LRTAP Convention. PIC, which the U.S. signed in 1998, seeks to provide governments with the information they need to assess the risk of importing pesticides and other chemicals.

It is essential that the United States become a party to these agreements because important decisions will be made at the next Conference of the Parties of POPs in May 2006 and of PIC in October 2006. In the case of POPs, the Convention held its first meeting in September 2005, and is moving toward the addition of more chemicals to the agreement. Without implementing legislation, the U.S. will continue to act solely as an observer at these Conferences, with little ability to directly represent our national interests.

2005/1202

Released on December 20, 2005

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