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Health Risk Assessment for POPs under Stockholm Convention

As part of their obligations as a signatory to the Stockholm Convention for Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) Australia is required to implement strategies for the phase out of the use of chemicals ratified under the Convention.

The Challenge

Five new substances have recently been listed in the Convention – PFOS, HBCD, PBDE and OBDE – are being assessed by the Commonwealth Department of Environment as part of Australia’s response to the listing.

As part of this assessment Pacific Environment partnered with Marsden Jacobs Associates to conduct a cost benefit analysis as to inform the Governments decision making process on what were the appropriate responses for Australia to phasing out the use of these chemicals. 

The Solution

Pacific Environment’s risk assessment team conducted an assessment of Persistant Organic Pollutants (POPs) to understand the risks that they pose to the Australian population and environment.  These chemicals can have developmental effects in children and have been linked to increases in ADHD and loss of IQ.  .  They can also affect the reproductive system in humans and animals.  POPs are known to bioaccumulate in the food chain and do not breakdown in the environment. 

The Results

The results of the HRA estimated the increase in ADHD and IQ loss in children that is associated with current exposures to these chemicals in Australia.  The costs of these impacts were assessed by Marsden Jacobs as part of the overall cost-benefit analysis.