TABLE 5.1 Some Persistent Organic Pollutants (based on reaction with hydroxyl radical)

POP

Use/Source

Year Banned in U.S.

Atmospheric Gas-Phase Half-Lifea (Days)

Aldrin

Insecticide

1987

0.17

Chlordane

Insecticide

1988

2.1

Chlordecone

Insecticide

1978

> 365

DDT

Insecticide

1972

3.1

Dieldrin

Insecticide

1987

1.2

Heptachlor

Insecticide

1988

0.2

Hexabromobiphenyl

Flame retardant

1973

38

HCB

Fungicide

1984

> 365

Mirex

Insecticide

1978

> 7

PCBs

Industrial

1977

3 to 120

Toxaphene

Insecticide

1980

4.7

HCHs (technical mixture)

Insecticide

1978

19

PAHs

Combustion

NA

0.5 to 2

PCDD/Fs

Combustion

NA

2.6 to 200

aEPA EpiSuite: http://www.epa.gov/oppt/exposure/pubs/episuitedl.htm.

dieldrin, heptachlor, hexabromobiphenyl, hexachlorobenzene (HCB), mirex, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), toxaphene, hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCHs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and furans (PCDD/Fs) (Table 5.1) (http://www.unece.org/env/lrtap/pops_h1.htm). This list includes products of incomplete combustion (PAHs and PCDD/Fs), pesticides (aldrin, chlordanes, chlordecone, DDT, dieldrin, heptachlor, hexachlorobenzene, mirex, toxaphene, and HCHs), and industrial chemicals (PCBs and hexabromobiphenyl). It is noted that while the use of the synthetic organic POPs such as pesticides and industrial chemicals was banned in the United States several decades ago, they continue to volatilize from historically-contaminated soils and cycle in the environment. In addition, the emission of combustion derived POPs (PAHs and PCDD/Fs) may be reduced through combustion emission control but cannot be realistically eliminated.

The objective of the UNECE POPs protocol is to eliminate any emission, discharges, or losses of POPs. The protocol bans the use and production of some POPs (aldrin, chlordane, chlordecone, dieldrin, endrin, hexabromobiphenyl, mirex, and toxaphene), has severe restrictions on the use of some POPs (DDT, HCHs, and PCBs), and plans for a scheduled elimination of other POPs (DDT, heptachlor, HCB, PCBs) at a later date. In addition, the protocol requires parties to reduce emissions of HCB,



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