Pentachlorophenol: The non-emotional approach. Second draft: A discussion document

IRG/WP 95-50040-07

G Ozanne

Regulations on PENTA start from a strange story. Often initiated as pure ban in certain countries to provide satisfaction to pressure groups, the increased knowledge of the toxicology has contributed to one of the best documented file concerning a substance widely used as wood preservative. The accumulated documentation on its contaminants and its potentialities as dioxin and furan precursor in certain conditions justify an efficient pressure on initial quality, specifications, conditions of use and destruction. Are we actually able to draw practical conclusions from the enormous amount of work carried out in many countries to address the various questions raised by the chemical and its derivatives? The reply seems positive: the danger is actual, but some simple rules of use may reduce the probability of accidental situation to practically zero. The review explains in which way, regulations only based on intrinsic properties of substances, may appear totally blind if a practical risk/benefit analysis is not considered and proposes: specifications on tracers of impurities, classification of the dangers, identification of the most suitable form to minimize the risk, voluntary limitations of use for sensitive applications, rules of destruction and finally a standard of specifications socially acceptable worldwide.


Conference: 95-02-06/07 Cannes-Mandelieu, France

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