Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are defined by the Stockholm Convention as:
“… chemicals that remain intact in the environment for long periods, become widely distributed geographically, accumulate in the fatty tissue of humans and wildlife, and have harmful impacts on human health or on the environment.
POPs can lead to serious health effects including certain cancers, birth defects, dysfunctional immune and reproductive systems, greater susceptibility to disease and damages to the central and peripheral nervous systems.”
There are three international instruments which address the manufacture, use, storage and disposal of POPs:
- The Stockholm Convention on POPs
- Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP) on Persistent Organic Pollutants
- The Basel Convention (not specifically about POPs, but covers transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and their disposal)
The latest consolidated version of The Regulation (EC) No 850/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on persistent organic pollutants and amending Directive 79/117/EEC (last accessed: 26th of January, 2018).