|From the production
of PCBs to their prohibition
PCBs, their mass production and on-going pollution
In 1929, about 50 years after the first synthesis of PCBs
was reported in 1881, Swan Co. in the U.S. (later to merge
with Monsanto Co.) began commercial production of PCBs. The
mass production began with various brand names all over the
world. It is estimated that worldwide more than 1 million
tons of PCBs were produced from 1929 to 1989 (data excepting
the former Soviet Union (UNEP, 2002)).
Since the beginning of mass production, negative aspects,
such as effects on factory workers and accumulation in the
environment have been noted. However, PCB production was never
Starting with the Kanemi Yusho Incident in 1968 in Japan,
the toxicity of PCBs became a social issue and production
was curtailed in developed countries during the 1970s and
1980s. Production of PCBs is now prohibited in most countries,
but those products manufactured before the prohibition are
still used and contamination still continues.
International movement on PCBs and other pollutants
The disposal of PCB wastes is a problem for every country.
PCB wastes are sometimes exported to developing countries,
causing new pollution problems. In order to stop this kind
of waste dumping, PCBs were included as a target chemical
substance in the Basel Convention of 1989 (controls the
transportation of hazardous wastes among countries), and
by the Rotterdam Convention of 1998 (states that exporting
countries must disclose, in advance, correct information
on chemical to be exported to importing countries, in cases
when those chemicals are banned or restricted in exporting
countries. It also states that the rights of importing nations
must be respected).
In addition, the worldwide movement to eliminate POPs (Persistent
Organic Pollutants), including PCBs, led to the December
2000 POPs agreement completed in Johannesburg. In May of
the following year, the same agreement was adopted in Stockholm
and is now called the Stockholm Convention on POPs. This
treaty will enter into force after ratification by more
than 50 countries. It is hoped that disposal of PCBs throughout
the world will speed up under this convention.
History of PCBs
POPs: General term used for persistent organic
||Report of PCB
|US Swan Co. (later
emerge with Monsanto Co.) began production of
Incident happened in Japan.
by PCBs happened in Taiwan.
PCBs became prohibited around the world. (Uses
are not prohibited)
|Adoption of Basel
Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements
of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
(effective since May 5th, 1992)
instrument concerning the environmentally sound
management of hazardous wastes, including PCBs,
and the control of their transboundary movements.
It regulates export related matters such as license
systems, advance notices, and improper exports.
151 countries have contracted.(June 2002)
specified the action for POPs reduction and for
establishment of the means of emission control.
This declaration and the "world action plan"
were adopted by about 100 participating nations.
96/59 of the European Communities on the elimination
of PCBs and PCTs and the phase out by the year
||Aims at harmonizaing
EU member states legislations concerning the management
of PCBs and PCTs in vies of their progressive
phase out by year 2010.
|Adoption of Rotterdam
states the requirement for advance notice to importing
countries before exporting the chemical substances
that are forbidden or restricted to use or to
manufacture in an exporting countries. Ratification
of 50 nations is required for the convention to
|Adoption of Stockholm
Convention on POPs
||Seeks the elimination
or restriction of production and use of all intentionally
produced POPs. Ratified countries must stop the
use of all equipments containing PCBs by 2025.
Ratification of 50 nations is required for the
convention to becom effective.
PCBs are included in POPs. Agricultural chemicals such as
DDT, Aldrin, and Dieldrin,and byproducts such as Dioxin and
Furan are included in POPs.