Daily News Archive
From December 12, 2000

122 Nations Agree to Cut Many Toxics, DDT Use Will Continue

On December 10, 2000, representatives of 122 nations, including the US, reached an agreement to phase out the use of persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa, representatives agreed to regulate the production, import, export, disposal and use of the initial 12 pollutants, which include pesticides like aldrin and chlordane; the industrial chemicals polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, and hexachlorobenzene; and toxic byproducts called dioxins and furans. Nine are to be banned immediately. The agreement allows for the continued use of the DDT, but urges increased research into DDT alternatives.

Environmentalists caution that more work is still needed. "The successful negotiation is a crucial step toward protecting future generations from these dangerous chemicals, said Kristin Schafer of Pesticide Action Network. "Now we have to turn the treaty into real decreases in the levels of POPs in our food and our bodies. We can't let loopholes in the treaty open the door to more, instead of less, POPs contamination."