Conferences of the BRS Conventions: Two weeks, three conventions, and many decisions.

The Parties of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions (BRS Conventions) took place in Geneva, Switzerland, from 6 – 17 June 2022, under the theme "Global Agreements for a Healthy Planet: Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste." More than 1200 participants joined the two-week meeting. Katarína Řiháčková and Kateřina Šebkové represented RECETOX in the delegation of the Czech Republic.

21 Jun 2022 Kateřina Šebková

The agenda of the meeting was busy, and the meetings were held from the early morning hours until the evening. However, the discussions brought vital decisions that will affect the use of chemicals and waste management.

The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants agreed to ban the production and use of the industrial chemical perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), its salts, and PHFxS-related compounds. While production is decreasing, the chemical is found in numerous products, from stain-resistant fabrics to fire-fighting foams. The Basel Convention dealing with transboundary hazardous wastes and addressing their sound management throughout their lifecycle, including trade and disposal, agreed to cover all kinds of e-wastes under the procedure of informed consent and continue working on plastic wastes and household waste. The Rotterdam Convention successfully listed two chemicals such as decabromodipenyl ether (decaBDE) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA); a mutual consensus was not found on listing four other substances and chrysotile asbestos.

And what was there for the RECETOX? There were glory moments for the Brno research center too. Katarína Řiháčková, from RECETOX, was nominated to serve on behalf of the Central and Eastern Europe in the Persistent Organic Pollutant Review Committee that is assessing candidate chemicals under the Stockholm Convention. Also, the RECETOX organized a side event entitled "Trends in POP levels globally and how could they contribute to solving the triple planetary crisis?". That included an official release of the electronic data browser with the updated datasets covering 1987-2019 for ambient air, human tissues, and water presented by Kateřina Šebková, director of the Stockholm Convention Regional Centre hosted by RECETOX.

The Chief of the Science and Technical Assistance Branch at the BRS Conventions Abiola Olanipekun emphasized the importance of the GMP Data Warehouse for POPs monitoring reports and evaluation of the effectiveness of the Convention, as well as expert contributions of the whole monitoring and data management community. Delegates participating in the side-event applauded the outcomes of work done by the RECETOX research infrastructure database team once they had seen the charts, maps, trend analysis, and data availability modules for core matrices of the Stockholm Convention. Thanks to the work of RECETOX and the funding of the European e-shape project (Horizon 2022), the Data Warehouse for POPS is available to experts and the general public.


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