Environmentalists are "raising concerns about the exemptions for lindane" and four of the other nine new chemicals recently listed for elimination under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), reports Inside EPA. The Center for International Environmental Law says the exemptions could "undercut the treaty's goals of protecting human health and the environment from POPs." Karl Tupper, staff scientist at Pesticide Action Network, participated in the fourth Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Stockholm Convention in Geneva and is concerned about the precedent that could be set for future additions to the treaty. He says the governments at the COP meeting "took the easy way out by allowing the exemptions" and that "the power of the treaty to drive the move away from POPs could be compromised with too many loopholes for chemicals still in use or posing disposal problems." The pesticide lindane, for example, is now listed for global elimination, but existing stocks can be used for the next five years in lice and scabies pharmaceutical products -- with a possibility that the exemption could be extended. "Ending the production and agricultural use of lindane is a huge victory," Tupper says. "But now we must close the loophole for pharmaceutical use, and a first step is to get the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to deregister it." In a reversal from its previous stance, the U.S. did not support the exemption for pharmaceutical uses of lindane at the Geneva meeting.
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