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UNEP issues streamlined inventory of sources of information on persistent organic pollutants

Geneva/Nairobi, November 1999 - Countries will have better access to data on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) worldwide, as a result of the streamlined inventory of information sources now available from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The Inventory is a detailed bibliographic tool covering sources of information on POPs from international organizations and 33 countries. Topics covered by international organization sources include risk assessment; source, exposure, and environmental fate; toxicology and health; waste management, management and safe use of pesticides; and international environmental conventions and programmes. For both categories, the Inventory provides contact information.

"Information is the first line of defence in combatting persistent organic pollutants," said Klaus Toepfer, UNEP Executive Director. "This Inventory will give nations a valuable tool for use in reducing and/or eliminating environmental releases of these risk-imposing pollutants in advance of the global treaty now being negotiated."

One hundred and fifteen countries participated in the third round of talks on a legally binding international treaty on POPs. The next round is set to take place 20-25 March 2000 in Bonn.

POPs pose serious risks to public health and the environment. They resist degradation, can travel long distances, and accumulate in fatty tissues of living organisms, becoming more concentrated higher in the food chain.

The new hard-copy publication draws on the Inventory of Information Sources on Chemicals on the UNEP Chemicals homepage, including the section on POPs ( html). It will also be available online.

UNEP developed the Inventory publication and database in response to the UNEP Governing Council Decision requesting immediate actions on POPs while treaty negotiations take place. It drew on information from questionnaires sent to countries and data published by intergovernmental organizations. The document updates a preliminary version in June 1998.

Copies of the document - "Inventory of Information Sources on Chemicals - Persistent Organic Pollutants" - are available free of charge from UNEP Chemicals, International Environment House, 11-13 chemin des An?mones, CH-1219 Chatelaine, Geneva, Switzerland.

Note to journalists:
Additional data and documents are available via the Internet ( and For followup or to arrange interviews, please contact:
James B. Willis,
UNEP Chemicals,
at tel: (+41 22) 917 81 83; fax: (+41 22) 797 34 60;
Linda Durkee,
Policy and Communications Advisor,
UNEP Chemicals,
tel: (+41 22) 917 85 11;

UNEP Information Note 1999/40

Tuesday 30 Nov 1999
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