Press Release
May 13, 2009

Villar urges information drive on toxic chemicals banned by UN Convention

Nacionalista Party President Manny Villar today urged a massive information drive on the United Nations Convention which lists nine more chemicals as poisonous substances that should be banned worldwide.

"Authorities should act with dispatch in implementing a massive information drive so that people will be informed about these hazardous chemicals," Villar said.

He also noted that many of the chemicals are still widely used today as pesticides by farmers, flame retardants and in electronic and textile factories which endangers the workers.

Villar said the Department of Health and the Department of Trade and Industry must work in partnership to inform the people about these harmful substances that cause death, impair the nervous and immune systems, cause cancer and reproductive disorders and hamper normal infant and child development.

"We welcome this effort by the world community to prioritize the elimination of toxic substances as a way to protect the future generation," Villar said.

Over the weekend, more that 160 signatory states added the chemicals to the existing list of 12 after a week-long meeting in Geneva.

The chemicals that member states have now committed to eliminate are:

  • Lindane - used in treatment of headlice and scabies, and in insecticides

  • Alpha hexachlorocyclohexane - a by-product of lindane

  • Beta hexachlorocyclohexane - a by-product of lindane

  • Hexabromodiphenyl ether and heptabromodiphenyl ether - used in flame retardants

  • Tetrabromodiphenyl ether and pentabromodiphenyl ether - used in flame retardants

  • Chlordecone - used in agricultural pesticides

  • Hexabromobiphenyl - used in flame retardants

  • Pentachlorobenzene - used in fungicides, flame retardants

  • Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, its salts and perfluorooctane sulfonyl fluoride - used in electric and electronic parts, photo imaging, textiles

The 12 initial POPs (persistent organic pollutants) referred to as the 'dirty dozen' covered by the Stockholm Convention enforced in 2004 include nine pesticides (aldrin, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, hexachlorobenzene, mirex and toxaphene); two industrial chemicals (PCBs as well as hexachlorobenzene, also used as a pesticide); and the unintentional by-products, most importantly dioxins and furans.

Villar, former Senate President, also filed Proposed Senate Resolution No. 1050, urging the Senate and the government to actively support global action against some of the most toxic chemicals known to mankind that pose significant risk to human and ecological health.

"Supporting this international initiative is significant in the objective to protect our people, food and environment from harmful exposure," he said.

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