Global environmental challenges
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.