International instruments related to hazardous substances

Author:International Labour Organization
Meetings-MESHA-Final Code-2010-10-0355-1-En.doc/v2 197
Appendix V
International instruments related to hazardous
Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary
Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal,
The Basel Convention was adopted in 1989 to set up a framework for controlling the
movement of hazardous wastes across international frontiers. One of its central goals has been to
promote environmentally sound management (ESM) in order to protect human health and the
environment. ESM comprises an integrated life-cycle ap proach that seeks to minimize hazardous
waste production whenever possible and involves strong controls from the generation of hazardous
waste to its storage, transport, treat ment, reuse, recycling, recovery and final disposal . Current
implementation efforts incl ude focusing on prevention, mi nimization, recycling, rec overy and
disposal of hazardous and other wastes; t he active promotion and use of clea ner technologies and
production methods; a nd the improvement of institutional and technological capabilities, especiall y
for developing countries and countries in transition.
Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent
Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and
Pesticides in International Trade, 1998
The Rotterdam Convention, adopted in 1998, has two key objectives: to pro mote shared
responsibility and cooperative efforts in the in ternational trade of certain hazardous chemicals in
order to protect human health and the environment; and to contribute to the environmentally sound
use of those hazardous chemicals by facilitating information exchange. The Convention covers
pesticides and industrial chemicals that have been banned or severely restricted for health or
environmental reasons. Some 40 such chemicals are currently included in the Prior Informed
Consent (PIC) procedure, of which 25 are pesticides a nd four are severely hazardous pesticide
formulations. Many more chemicals are expected to be added in the future. The Convention
promotes the exchange of information on a broad range of chemicals. It does so through: the
requirement for a party to the Convention to i nform other parties of each national ban or severe
restriction of a chemical; the possibility for a party which is a developing country or a country in
transition to inform other parties that it is experiencing problems caused by a severely hazardous
pesticide formulation under conditions of use in its territory; the requirement for a party that plans
to export a chemical that is banned or severely restricted for use within its territory, to inform the
importing party that such exp ort will take place, before the first shipment a nd annually thereafter;
the require ment for an exporting party, when exporting chemicals that are to be used for
occupational purposes, to ensure than an up-to-date safety data sheet is sent to the importer; and
labelling requirements for exports of chemicals included in the PIC procedure, as we ll as for other
chemicals that are banned or severely restricted in the exporting country.
Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic
Pollutants (POPs), 2001
The Stockholm Convention, adopted in 2001, aims to protect human health and the
environment from highly d angerous, long-lasting chemicals by restricting and ultimately
eliminating their production, use, trade, release and storage. POPs are a group of compounds that
possess toxic properties, resist degradation, and bio-accumulate. They are transported through air,
water and migratory species acr oss international boundaries and are deposited far from t heir place
of release, where they accumulate in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Health concerns associated
with POPs include the fact that they accumulate in the fatty tis sues of living orga nisms, can cause
cancer and birth defects and may disrupt immune and reproductive syste ms. The first 12 compounds
covered under the Convention are aldrin, chlordane, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor,
hexachlorobenzene, mirex, toxaphene, polychlorinated biphenyls, DDT , PCDD (dioxin) and PCDF

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