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Persistent organic pollutants, or POPs in short, are organic compounds that are resistant to environmental degradation through chemical, biological, and photolytic processes. Because of their persistence, POPs bioaccumulate with potential adverse impacts on human health and the environment.

POPs

In May 1995, the United Nations Environment Programme had investigated and initially recognized twelve POPs for their adverse effects on human health and the environment, placing a global ban on these harmful and toxic compounds and requiring its parties to take measures to eliminate or reduce the release of POPs in the environment.

Since 2001, the list of banned POPs had expanded to include some polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), brominated flame retardants, and other compounds.

However, recent enforcements in Sweden had identified and seized eleven (11) batches of consumer goods due to excessive Short-Chain Chlorinated Paraffin (SCCP) content in accordance to EU’s POPs regulation. According to European Commission - Rapid Alert System for dangerous non-food products (RAPEX) weekly report in early December, eight (8) of these batches (as shown below) are related to electrical and electronic products and are manufactured in China.

Product  Violation  Limit  Penalty 
In-Ear Headphones  0.3% SCCP Concentration  0.15% Withdrawal from Market 
Speaker  1.0% SCCP Concentration 
USB Cable  1.6% SCCP Concentration 
Power Cord 2.6% SCCP Concentration
Selfie Stick  5.47% SCCP Concentration 
Sport Equipment  0.4% SCCP Concentration 
LED Candle Light  1.3% SCCP Concentration
Remote Control Car  1.7% SCCP Concentration 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Since 2015, EU member states have continuously stepped up their effort in inspecting products for SCCP content in the marketplace.  Apart from this, specific products such as electric kettles, game consoles and power cords have also been investigated for SCCPs for violations.

As SCCPs are widely used in rubber parts, especially for electrical and electronic products, due to their plasticizing and flame retardant properties.  SGS recommends that enterprises pay more attention to the SCCP content in their product to reduce risk.

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