"UN Sees Rising Risks From Climate, Toxic Chemicals"

"GENEVA -- Climate change is a major obstacle to a 2004 global treaty aimed at cutting exposure to 21 highly dangerous chemicals, says a new U.N.-commissioned report issued Monday.

The 66-page report says the risks of exposure could increase if more stockpiles and landfills leak due to flooding, or other extreme weather linked to rising temperatures. Chemicals stored in stockpiles or waste dumps to be incinerated or removed later could simply wash away, become more volatile, or escape in the warmer weather through gas emissions, it says.

"Significant climate-induced changes are foreseen in relation to future releases of persistent organic pollutants into the environment ... subsequently leading to higher health risks both for human populations and the environment," says Donald Cooper, the Geneva-based U.N. treaty's executive secretary, in the preface.

The report was presented to experts meeting at a U.N. environment meeting Monday in Nairobi, Kenya. The treaty, known as the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, or POPs, is intended to protect the environment and people's health from what it calls very dangerous chemicals that accumulate in the environment, travel long distances by air and water, and work their way through the food chain."

John Heilprin reports for the Associated Press February 21, 2011.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011