Singapore signed the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (Stockholm Convention), together with some 90 other countries, on 23 May 2001. The Stockholm Convention calls for measures and international cooperation to control the production, use, trade and disposal of substances termed as persistent organic pollutants (POPs).
Persistent organic pollutants are chemicals that resist degradation, enabling them to be transported by air, water or other means to remote regions where they have never been used. Their propensity to bio-accumulate in living tissues pose a risk to the well-being of human populations and wildlife. Scientific evidence has indicated that exposure to very low doses of certain POPs can lead to cancer, damage to the human nervous system, diseases of the immune system, reproductive disorders and interference with normal infant and child development.
The initial list of 12 POPs covered under the Stockholm Convention are: aldrin, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, mirex, toxaphene, PCBs, hexachlorobenzene, dioxins and furans. Over the years, the Stockholm Convention has expanded the list to include new POPs and the list can be found here
. Many of these POPs, which are commonly used as pesticides, have been banned in Singapore. POPs such as dioxins and furans are unintentional by-products generated from combustion processes (such as waste incineration) and measures are put in place to reduce their emissions in Singapore.