European Commission Tightens Control of POPs

European Commission Tightens Control of POPs

The European Commission has approved tighter controls surrounding the use of persistent organic pollutants (POPs), referring to the list of substances as “the world’s most dangerous chemicals.”

Persistent organic pollutants are hazardous organic chemical compounds that are resistant to biodegradation and have long-term adverse effects on people, wildlife and the ecosystem. They include a wide variety of agricultural and industrial chemicals, the most well-known being dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT). 

The formal list of chemicals is on the United Nations (UN) list of dangerous substances, and was adopted as part of the Stockholm Convention.

On June 13, the European Commission officially adopted new rules concerning POPs, which will come into force 20 days after they are published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The proposal was first presented in March 2018, with a provision agreement reached in February 2019. 

Rules surrounding the use of POPs were established in the European Union (EU) following the Stockholm Convention, but there was misalignment with other chemical regulations, such as the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation.

Under the Stockholm Convention, measures must be taken to restrict, eliminate or reduce POPs in accordance with the relevant annex

  • Annex A substances: Parties must take measures to eliminate the production and use of chemicals. 
  • Annex B substances: Parties must take measures to restrict the production and use of the chemicals listed. 
  • Annex C substances: Parties must take measures to reduce the unintentional releases of chemicals listed.

Download our guide, Persistent Organic Pollutants, to learn more about POPs and how to manage your company’s global requirements. 


Changes in rules surrounding POPs in the EU include

  • The addition of the flame retardant decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE) to the list of substances (with the unintentional trace contaminant value set at 10 mg/kg for cases where decaBDE is present in substances). 
  • The unintentional trace contaminant value is set at 500 mg/kg for the sum of all brominated diaryl (or diphenyl ethers [BDEs], including decaBDE), where they are present in mixtures and articles. 
  • The introduction of specific exemptions concerning the use of decaBDE for aircraft, motor vehicles and, if imported, electronic equipment. 

In order to comply with global legislation, companies must understand the current list of POPs and how it impacts the supply chain, and remain aware of new POPs and rules as they are added. 

Assent’s supply chain data management solution allows companies to collect supplier declarations for the existence of POPs. To learn more about how Assent can support supply chain data management for POPs programs, contact info@assentcompliance.com

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