Convention on Dangerous Chemicals Goes Into Effect

The Rotterdam Convention, an international treaty meant to protect developing nations from dangerous chemicals already banned or restricted in wealthy nations, went into effect yesterday, after garnering support from 50 signatory countries, as needed to give it the force of international law. Many toxic chemicals, particularly pesticides for agriculture, that have fallen from favor in the developed world are still widely used in poor countries, posing serious health and environmental risks. The treaty attempts to build capacity in those countries to handle the chemicals safely, and states that the chemicals may not be exported by any country unless explicitly authorized by the importing country. The Rotterdam Convention is one of the few international treaties supported by the U.S.