Stockholm Convention

Karl Tupper's picture

I know I've written it before, but we're really witnessing the endgame for endosulfan in Geneva this week. I'm here, once again, for negotiations under the Stockholm Convention, otherwise known as the POPS treaty. The global agreement bans the worst of the worst chemicals — Persistent Organic Pollutants like dioxins and PCBs. As I've been chronicling in this blog, endosulfan has been winding its way through the Convention's evaluation process for several years now. If the stars align, it'll finally be added to the Convention this week, triggering a global phaseout.


Contact:
Medha Chandra, PAN North America
(415) 981-6205 x327, mchandra@panna.org

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Karl Tupper's picture

Next Monday is World Malaria Day, and DDT will surely be in the news. The usual parade of opinion pieces calling for a revival of DDT spraying to control malaria (as though it ever stopped) will be on display.

You'll likely also read that the World Health Organization (WHO) has raised fresh concerns about its safety, and you may even hear that the Stockholm Convention has endorsed its continued use. Let me try to explain what's going on.

Kristin Schafer's picture

I couldn't bring 9-month-old Connor with me when I attended my first POPs treaty meeting in Bonn, so I brought my breastmilk pump instead. I vividly remember struggling with my rusty German to convince the women in the conference center kitchen to store my milk in the deep freeze.

As a nursing mother, participating in the POPs treaty meetings took on a very personal dimension. Here's why: persistent chemicals build up in food chains across the globe, and this is a key reason the treaty exists. Human milk — nature's perfect food for infants — is at the very top of the food chain. This is why POPs show up so often in breastmilk.

Karl Tupper's picture

When DDT was introduced more than 60 years ago, it initially scored victory after victory in the fight against malaria — nearly eliminating the deadly disease in many areas. But these wins were mostly short-lived, as mosquitoes rapidly developed resistance to the chemical. Today, its effectiveness is a fraction of what it once was; meanwhile an arsenal of better and safer anti-malaria interventions has been developed, including effective chemical-free strategies.

And so, under the auspices of the Stockholm Convention, the nations of the world have committed to phasing out DDT, while allowing it to be used in the short-term in those few places where it's still effective and other methods of malaria control are unavailable. This is an approach PAN enthusiastically supports.