White House Jeopardizing U.S. Role in Global Toxics Treaty

If the U.S. is to participate at the first meeting for an historic international treaty to ban or severely restrict a dozen of the world’s most hazardous chemicals, Congress must pass legislation enabling it to do so within the next several weeks.

But intervention from the Bush administration has so far turned one of two laws that must be amended into an unnecessarily "cumbersome" piece of legislation, while keeping draft legislation for a second law so closely guarded that environmental groups don't even know what's in it.

The Senate is unlikely to vote on its “advise and consent” for ratification of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)—which goes into effect May 17—until Congress amends these two laws, says Clifton Curtis, director of the World Wildlife Fund's (WWF) Global Toxics Program.

Congress must amend the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) as well as the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), to pave the way for participation in the treaty.

The landmark international treaty would ban the use of chemicals that do not easily break down in the environment, are extremely toxic, and accumulate in the body fat of people and animals.