Progress on POPs treaty, but hard road ahead on listing criteria

The text of a new UN Convention to deal with persistent organic pollutants (POPs) began to take clear shape at a third negotiating meeting in Geneva on 6-11 September. Agreement in principle has been reached on restrictions on most of an initial list of 12 POPs, but a predictable lack of consensus prevails on how to deal with PCBs and dioxins. Of greater long-term commercial and environmental significance will be the treaty's procedures for adding substances to the initial list, and on this there are still fundamental disagreements over the scientific and other criteria to be used.

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