During a four-day virtual meeting, the Chemical Review Committee (CRC) of the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade finalized its work on two industrial chemicals. The CRC agreed to recommend that the Conference of the Parties (COP) make both chemicals subject to the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure.

The PIC Procedure is a mechanism for obtaining and disseminating importing parties’ decisions on whether they wish to receive future shipments of certain chemicals, and for ensuring compliance with these decisions by exporting parties. If the COP agrees to the recommendation of the CRC, importers will be notified prior to trade in the industrial chemicals decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE), and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), its salts and PFOA-related compounds.

As reported by the Earth Negotiations Bulletin, decaBDE is used as a flame retardant in a wide variety of products, including electronic equipment, textiles, mattresses, vehicles, and construction materials. It has been found to be persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic to humans and wildlife, and it can be released into the environment during production, use, and disposal of items containing it. PFOA and its related compounds are used in products such as non-stick cookware, stain-resistant carpets, and fabrics.

During its virtual meeting, from 8-11 September 2020, the Chemical Review Committee focused on time-sensitive technical work that had been initiated at its 2019 meeting. In addition to discussions on listing the two industrial chemicals, participants also discussed updates to the Handbook of Working Procedures and Policy Guidance for the CRC and considered how to enhance effective participation by members.

The next meeting of the CRC is expected to consider at least eight chemicals. [ENB coverage of CRC 16]