Highlights and images for 15 January 2021

On the penultimate day of its meeting, the Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) Review Committee focused on the two stickiest items on its agenda: determining whether UV-328 meets the screening criteria for further evaluation as a potential POP, and preparing a risk profile of Dechlorane Plus to determine whether global action is warranted.

A members-only drafting group convened for the first two hours of the POPRC’s scheduled meeting time, working to finalize a draft decision on whether UV-328 meets each of the Annex D screening criteria for potential POPs (persistence, bioaccumulation, adverse effects, and potential for long-range environmental transport). The last criterion has proved to be the most challenging during this meeting, and work was expected to focus on whether available evidence supports moving this substance to the next stage of review. The Committee is scheduled to take a decision on this issue on Saturday.

Participants used the second half of the day to complete the first reading of a draft risk profile on Dechlorane Plus, which is in the second stage of the POPRC’s review. Discussions in this group focused on text on adverse effects, with pointed exchanges on toxicological data, including which data should be presented in the document and in what manner. Several participants expressed concern about the validity and reliability of data included in the draft, questioning the appropriateness of drawing conclusions based on this information. Others, pointing to the small number of studies available to support decision-making, emphasized the importance of looking at all available information and using a “weight of evidence” approach.

With only two hours to work through this complicated issue, the contact group ran late as participants sought to overcome disagreements as to whether there is sufficient evidence to indicate that Dechlorane Plus has adverse effects on human health and/or the environment. With a clear understanding of the different views to inform further work, Contact Group Chair Victorine, Pinas, Suriname, concluded the work of the contact group and asked POPRC members to join a drafting group to finalize the work on this issue.

Both UV-328 and Dechlorane Plus will come to the full Committee for decisions on Saturday, the final day of the meeting. The POPRC is scheduled to meet in plenary for four hours, as it seeks to finalize its agenda and establish a plan for its next phase of work.