What are persistent organic pollutants?

After extensive use in many areas including military, schools, and homes, there was a discovery that certain types of chemicals are actually more deadly that their intended target. One of the most notorious chemicals is DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane) was used to prevent the spread of malaria and other insect-borne diseases not long ago. But DDT was found to cause serious harm to the environment and living creatures who are exposed to it – including humans. Even worse, DDT was found to “persist” in the environment and travel via air currents for long periods of time.

The US Environmental Protection Agency and the United Nations then prohibited DDT and certain other persistent organic chemicals (POPs). The “dirty dozen” list not only included DDT but PCBs, dioxins and more.

In the wake of COVID-19, the list of Persistent Organic Pollutants is likely to grow. The widespread use of chemicals for fighting disease has grown, and as such exposure to some chemicals might be more harmful than the disease itself. From disinfectants to cleaning products, sanitizers and more – there is a risk that certain chemicals could be more dangerous.

A recent study from the National Institute of Health (NIH) found that persistent organic chemicals may impact the size of a fetus during pregnancy. As more studies are released, there is mounting evidence that certain types of chemicals once thought to be helpful are actually more harmful.

It is no secret that certain chemicals can have serious and deadly health effects on plants, humans and animals alike. Many chemical manufacturers have gone to great lengths to improve the safety of chemicals. These steps build confidence that the chemicals that people and businesses use can be effective without causing serious harm to the environment or to public health.

Nonetheless, some dangerous chemicals still exist and are still used today. Also there could be new chemicals introduced that may not have been fully vetted for environmental and health safety. It is situations like this that undermine confidence and pose a real threat.

As part of the Stockholm Convention and the EPA mandate, manufacturers are required to affirm that they are not using any Persistent Organic Chemicals in any products or produce POPs in their manufacturing processes.

It is a good idea to review your products and the chemicals associated to confirm that your company complies with the POPs requirements. Also you should stay on top of any new chemicals that might be added to the POPs listing. This review should be conducted objectively and thoroughly. Implementing a routine check process will give your employees, customers, and other interested parties confidence that your business is doing all that it can to keep the environment safe.

The result of your review should be a statement that certifies the analysis and checks for POPs shows little to no use. If your business must use POPs, the results should show the precautions that are being taken to minimize environmental impacts.

APA Engineering offers services that help manufacturers, distributors and others in the supply chain industry to make sure they are Persistent Organic Pollutants compliant. APA Engineering also offers services to help you stay informed about any new POPs as they are added to the restricted or banned lists.

Contact APA Engineering to find out more information and to get a quick assessment of your POPs compliance today!



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