07 September 1999
Treaty targets organic pollutants

NEGOTIATIONS involving 110 countries are taking place in Geneva this week to work out a global treaty that will ban or restrict 12 persistent organic pollutants.

Under discussion are pesticides such as DDT and toxaphene, industrial products such as polychlorinated biphenyls and contaminants such as dioxins.

Persistent organic pollutants, which accumulate in the fatty tissues of humans and animals, are associated with health problems including cancers.

They are also linked to damage to the reproductive system, developmental disorders and disrupted endocrine and immune systems.

But some medical experts have argued there is no substitute for DDT which is a cheap and effective method of controlling the malaria-carrying mosquito.

  • Financial Times 07/09/99 page 3