Stockholm Convention Secretariat launches "POPs-free initiative"
The Secretariat of the Stockholm Convention recently launched a "POPs-free initiative," which aims to "encourage manufacturers and retailers of consumer products, who have phased out [persistent organic pollutants], to provide information on POPs-free products, on possible alternatives and substitutes, and processes for introducing such alternatives and substitutes." A U.S. non-profit and a Swedish company agreed to voluntarily test products through an Environment Agency of Austria laboratory in a pilot project for the initiative. Two products were found to be free from chemicals listed under the Stockholm Convention: a comb medical device to screen, detect and remove head lice and nits -- a potential alternative to pharmaceutical uses of the listed POP lindane -- and a halogen-free flame retardant system. The secretariat says it will continue to consult with stakeholders on identifying POPs-free products and exchange information on alternatives and substitutes.