Defra proposes to list certain chlorinated paraffins as POPs

27 January 2021

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has drafted a proposal to list chlorinated paraffins with carbon chain lengths in the range C14-17 and chlorination levels ≥45% chlorine by weight as a persistent organic pollutant (POP) in Annex A, B or C of the Stockholm Convention.

POPs, which are substances that persist in the environment, accumulate in living organisms and pose a risk to our health and the environment. They can be transported by air, water or migratory species across international borders, reaching regions where they have never been produced or used.

The UK is a signatory to the Stockholm Convention in its own right, meaning all existing obligations and protections continue since the UK left the EU. The Stockholm Convention is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from POPs by eliminating or reducing their emissions.

Defra states that it has additional evidence that some components of medium-chain chlorinated paraffins (MCCPs). It is thus proposing to list chlorinated paraffins with carbon chain lengths in the range C14-17 and chlorination levels ≥45% chlorine by weight in the Stockholm Convention. The paraffins are used predominately in PVC, polymers, rubber, sealants, adhesives, metalworking fluids, paints, textiles and paper products. If accepted the process of further assessment, discussion and listing is likely to take 4-5 years.

Information, such as the substance identity, manufacturing, placing on the marketing and use of the substance, hazards to health or the environment, monitoring data, exposure scenarios, or environmental emissions, for example, to support or critique the proposal for listing is being invited.

Defra is also interested in receiving any information on risk management measures, alternatives, costs and benefits related to the use of the substance and well justified requests for exemptions if no alternatives are available.

All comments should be sent to POPS@defra.gov.uk by 15 March 2021.