The 19th meeting of the Chemical Review Committee (CRC-19) of the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, or the Rotterdam Convention for short, recommended that chlorpyrifos and mercury be listed in Convention Annex III. Annex III lists chemicals subject to the PIC Procedure, including pesticides and industrial chemicals that have been banned or severely restricted.

For chlorpyrifos, notifications of final regulatory action meeting Annex II criteria for listing banned or severely restricted chemicals in Annex III came from the EU, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka. For mercury, Colombia’s and the EU’s notifications met the Annex II criteria. CRC experts will begin developing draft decision guidance documents for finalization at CRC-20. Following this, these documents, along with the CRC recommendations, will be submitted to and considered by the 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP12) to the Rotterdam Convention in Geneva, Switzerland, in 2025. If the COP decides to amend Annex III to list these chemicals, parties to the Convention would be able to take informed decisions on potential future imports. Chlorpyrifos is a highly toxic insecticide used in agriculture known to have adverse effects on, among others, the nervous system and is particularly dangerous to children and pregnant women. Mercury, among other applications, is used in small-scale artisanal gold mining, as well as products such as lamps, batteries, medical and measuring devices, and dental amalgam. When absorbed, it can cause severe neurological and developmental issues, as well as harm to the kidneys, lungs, and other vital organs. 

The CRC also finalized two draft decision guidance documents on paraquat and methyl bromide, which were previously recommended at CRC-18 for listing in Convention Annex III. Methyl bromide has historically been used as a soil fumigant and pest control agent in agriculture and has ozone-depleting properties. Paraquat is used as an herbicide to control weeds in agriculture. It affects the lungs, skin, and other internal organs, with ingestion or inhalation leading to severe health risks, including pulmonary fibrosis and organ failure.

In addition, the Committee determined that notifications on diarsenic pentaoxide from the EU and on bromacil from Costa Rica met the Annex II criteria. However, since a recommendation for listing requires at least two notifications from two PIC regions, these chemicals were not recommended for listing at CRC-19. The CRC did not reach conclusions on notifications of final regulatory action from Mozambique for ethion, carbaryl, chlorfenvinphos, methidathion, and thiodicarb. Discussions will continue at CRC-20.

CRC-19 convened in Rome, Italy, from 3-6 October 2023. Twenty-eight members (government-designated experts elected by the COP) and 71 observers, representing 24 governments and 26 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) attended the meeting. [SDG Knowledge Hub Sources] [Rotterdam Convention Press Release]