The international phase-out of endosulfan with certain exemptions under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants will come into effect by the end of October next year.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations, acting in his capacity as depositary, has issued notification on October 27 asking parties to the Convention to notify the depository if they are unable to accept the decision of the Conference of Parties (CoP) in April listing endosulfan and its related isomers for elimination with specific exemptions. The notification has been published in the United Nations Treaty Collection on the Internet.

The CoP decision will enter into force for all parties, except those who have notified non-acceptance, on expiry of one year from the date of communication by the depository. India has already expressed willingness to join the phase-out over five years (extendable to 10 years). However, it can seek exemptions on use of endosulfan for specific crop-pest complexes. But, any such move would be infructuous if the Supreme Court confirms ban on endosulfan granted in the case filed by DYFI.

The Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee of the Convention has already set up an adhoc working group to review and identify information gaps on alternatives to endosulfan and to assess endosulfan alternatives.

Meanwhile, a few more studies have come out about effects of endosulfan on health. A joint study by M.S. Ramaiah Medical College, Bangalore; Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore; Fr. Muller Medical College, Mangalore; and Manipal University, Manipal, has found association between high levels of endosulfan in bone marrows of children and blood cancer. A Nigerian study African Journal of Biotechnology last month indicated harm to fish and potential risk to human health.