POPs and UN Conventions

Safe use of Brominated substances is, as are all chemical substances, regulated by global (UN), regional (EU) and local (countries in America, Asia, Europe, …) laws, such as regulations, directives, guidelines or others. Several United Nations conventions regulate chemical substances globally (SAICM, Stockholm, Basel, Rotterdam, Minamata) and are implemented in regional and national laws:

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SAICM, the UN Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (2006): The UN SAICM convention fosters the sound management of chemicals, supporting the goal of the 2002 Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development that by the year 2020 chemicals will be produced and used in ways that minimize significant adverse impacts on the environment and human health, acknowledging the essential contributions of chemicals in the current societies and economies and recognizing the potential threat to sustainable development if chemicals are not managed soundly.

UN Stockholm (2004) convention on POPs: UN Stockholm convention aims to eliminate or restrict the production of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), and global regions and countries have implemented POP laws and implementation plans derived from these UN conventions. POPs are defined as “chemical substances that persist in the environment, bio-accumulate through the food web, and pose a risk of causing adverse effects to human health and the environment”. Although some POPs arise naturally, for example volcanos and various biosynthetic pathways most are man-made. Only a few BFRs are banned or severely restricted (i.e. airplane spare parts) as POPs: HBCD, Deca-BDE and PBDEs

BSEF companies no longer produce POP BFRs (HBCD nor DecaBDE), but they are still produced and used in some countries.

UN Basel (1989) convention on hazardous waste: The UN Basel Convention aims to reduce the movements of hazardous waste between nations, and specifically to prevent transfer of hazardous waste from developed to less developed countries, intents to minimize the amount and toxicity of wastes generated to ensure their environmentally sound management.

UN Rotterdam (1998) convention on the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure for certain Hazardous chemicals and pesticides in international trade: The Rotterdam Convention promotes shared responsibilities, open exchange of information, in relation to importation of hazardous chemicals to use proper labeling, include directions on safe handling, and inform purchasers of any known restrictions or bans. Signatory nations can decide whether to allow or ban the importation of chemicals listed in the treaty and exporting countries are obliged to make sure that producers within their jurisdiction comply.

UN Minamata (2013) convention on Mercury : The Minamata Convention protects human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds, supporting provisions that relate to the entire life cycle of mercury, including controls and reductions across a range of products, processes and industries where mercury is used, released or emitted.

BSEF companies produce brominated substances that drastically reduce the air emission of Mercury from incinerators.