Today, humans have nearly 300 man-made substances in their bodies that were not present in
previous generations. The long-term toxicity of low doses of most of these
chemicals is unknown.
Convention recognizes that persistent
organic pollutants possess toxic properties, resist degradation,
bioaccumulate and are transported, through air, water and migratory species,
across international boundaries and deposited far from their place of release, where
they accumulate in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.
The agreement aims to
protect human health and the environment. It establishes various measures
to reduce the presence of these compounds through restrictions and by
prohibiting their production and use.
At the 2002 World
Summit on Sustainable Development, the participating governments, including
Mexico, agreed to "use and produce chemicals in ways that lead to the
minimization of significant adverse effects on human health and the
environment” and agreed to achieve that goal by 2020.
Mexico signed the
convention on May 23, 2001 in Sweden, and ratified it on February 10, 2003. It
was the first Latin American country to
ratify the convention, which entered into force on May 17, 2004.
The 2013 United Nations Environment Programme report "Costs of Inaction on the Sound Management
of Chemicals" shows that the
cost—borne by all segments of society, including business, from the production,
use and disposal of harmful chemicals—is too high.
If carcinogenic air
toxics in Mexico City were
reduced by 10%, it is estimated that there would be up to 100 fewer cases of
cancer among the population per year.