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UK Consults Over Proposed Revision to Persistent Organic Pollutants

SafeGuardSToys and Juvenile Products, Automotive, Electrical & Electronics, Hardgoods, Personal and Protective Equipment, SoftlinesMarch 16, 2023

SG 36/23

The UK has launched a consultation on potential revisions to the Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) Regulation. Comments are accepted until April 27, 2023.

On March 2, 2023, the United Kingdom’s (UK) Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) launched a consultation on its proposed changes to retained Regulation (EU) 2019/2012 as amended by the Persistent Organic Pollutants (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020/1358 and the Persistent Organic Pollutants (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2022/1293 (the ‘Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) Regulation’).

The proposed revisions are related to changes to the Stockholm Convention which the UK, as party to the Convention, must implement. Other proposed changes stem from the 2022 review of the POPs Regulation, or are in response to scientific or technical progress. These include revising Annexes I, IV and V to the POPs Regulation and two intended amendments involving four substances.

The proposed revision to Annex I of the POPs Regulation contains several important changes:

  • Removes existing specific exemptions for four POPs
    • Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), its salts and PFOA-related compounds
    • Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid and its derivatives (PFOS)
    • Short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs, alkanes C10-C13 chloro)
    • Decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE, bis(pentabromophenyl) ether)
  • Adds unintentional trace contaminant (UTC) exemptions for at least two POPs (hexachlorobenzene (HCB) and pentachlorophenol (PCP))
  • Deletes and/or amends existing UTC exemptions for PFOA

The proposal also details the following two amendments:

  • Adds perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), its salts and PFHxS-related compounds to Annex I of the POPs Regulation. These substances are also under consideration in the EU, Japan and New Zealand  (SafeGuardS 33/23)
  • Includes Dechlorane Plus (DP), Methoxychlor and UV-328 through forthcoming or future legislative updates without further public consultation if these three substances are adopted at a future Conference of the Parties of the Stockholm Convention

According to the announcement, comments will be accepted until April 27, 2023.

The proposed revisions would be applied to England, Wales and Scotland.

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