Global environmental challenges
“Dirty Dozen” chemicals to become “Toxic 21″?
So someone dreamt up the “Dirty Dozen” to describe the group of pesticides and other industrial chemicals outlawed by the U.N.’s 2001 Stockholm Convention. The 12 were linked to damage to the nervous and immune systems, cancers and reproductive disorders.
I reckon that making the chemicals sound like a gang of outlaws helped ensure far wider public understanding of the Convention. High concentrations of some of the chemicals have even been found in people, plants and animals in the Arctic, far from industrial centres.
Now 150 nations are meeting this week in Geneva (for stories, click here and here) to consider adding another nine chemicals to the banned list — many of them with with even more eye-glazing names like alpha hexachlorocyclohexane or perfluorooctane sulfonic acid. The nine are found in products ranging from hairsprays to flame retardants in mattresses.
So what will they be called?
Maybe if the nine are added to the Dirty Dozen they might end up as the “Toxic 21″?
But perhaps the Dirty Dozen name will stay on and the others will be called something like the “Noxious Nine”?
And what happens if countries don’t outlaw all the proposed nine — maybe there will be something like an “Awful Eight”, a “Filthy Five” or a “Foul Four”?
(Photo: A Nenets man leads reindeers near the village of Yar-Sale in the Yamal peninsula, some 2,150 km (1336 miles) northeast of Moscow, on February 25, 2008. The Nenets are indigenous people in Russia’s Arctic region north of the Urals. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko (RUSSIA))