The SCP/RAC, as a regional center of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, has promoted and leads an informal working group on EDCs and POPs in plastics and microplastics in the marine environment. The group was formed during the past meeting of the Regionals Centers of the Basel and Stockholm conventions that took place on November 2016, with the aim to raise the issue of pollutants associated with plastic waste in the oceans into the next Conference of the Parties (COP) of the chemical conventions which will take place in April-May 2017.
Persistent plastics in the marine environment degrade physically into microplastics and nanoplastics with an estimated life from decades to hundreds of years in the marine environment, and its ingestion by marine biota is a potential hazard to the environment, its biodiversity and potentially to human health. The risk stem basically from their toxic additives once the micro and nanoplastics are uptaken by marine biota, as some of those chemicals have toxic or endocrine disrupting properties. Endocrine disruptors (EDCs) can affect the fertility of the species, which can have serious consequences on the biodiversity and viability of the marine ecosystems, and increasing in the long term food vulnerability of millions of humans who have fish as staple food, especially in developing countries.
The document with considerations and recommendations to the parties of the Stockholm and Basel Convention on this issue can be consulted here.