In an article published on June 28, 2021, the online magazine Unearthed reports on recent pushback from the world’s largest oil and chemical companies against a proposed listing of the plastic additive known as UV-328 (CAS 25973-55-1) into the United Nation’s Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). In January 2021, the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC) within the Convention officially reviewed and recognized that the substance fulfills the set screening criteria of: (1) persistence, (2) bioaccumulation, (3) adverse effects, and (4) potential for long-range environmental transport (FPF reported). The nomination for the listing under the Convention for global elimination was submitted by the government of Switzerland. The proposal has received wide-ranging support from members of the Convention’s review committee.
However, statements from chemical industry associations and interviews with various stakeholders as reported by Unearthed and in a recent article in the Daily Mail have suggested that a restriction on UV-328 due to its identified hazardous properties would lead to “the end of plastic.” This statement, however, is being seen by many stakeholders as a strongly exaggerated and simply illogical prediction due to the availability of chemical alternatives on the market that could be used to replace UV-328 in global plastics manufacturing. Furthermore, UV-328 is just one of over 10’000 chemicals recently found to be intentionally added into plastics during manufacturing (FPF reported). The Stockholm Convention assesses chemicals individually against each of the four set criteria, and the recognition of UV-328’s hazard properties cannot result in the automatic restriction of other plastics additives. Other chemicals would need to be screened separately within the Convention against these criteria. National governments, however, can always voluntarily decide to use their own policy mechanisms that go beyond requirements internationally agreed within the Stockholm Convention.
Food Packaging Forum, 1 July 2021