Chemical risks programme falters at first hurdle

An international programme to reduce the risks posed by exposure to chemicals is in danger of falling at the first hurdle after OECD countries failed in June to agree on a risk reduction programme for lead. A last-ditch effort to reach a compromise between legally binding and voluntary action is expected in the next few weeks - but if this fails the programme may be abandoned. The programme has also had its credibility dented by the OECD's acceptance of a voluntary agreement from producers of polybrominated flame retardants (PBFRs) which imposes no restrictions on production of any PBFRs currently in commerce.

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