1. What regulation on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) is in force in Iceland?
In Iceland, Regulation (EU) 2019/1021 on persistent organic pollutants is transposed in the national Regulation No 954/2013 regarding persistent organic pollutants.

2. What are POPs?

Persistent organic pollutants or POPs are organic compounds that degrade slowly in the environment. The persistence of these compounds makes it possible for them to be transported great distances. Furthermore, these compounds contain halogens which generally makes them lipid soluble and leads to bioaccumulation with potential adverse health effects.

3. Where can these compounds be found?

It's hard to say as they can be found all over. Most of the chemicals are man-made, but they can also be formed in natural processes, such as volcanic eruptions. Main production and use of these chemicals began around or after the Second World War. They can travel long distances with air or sea currents, water and migratory species between countries far from their source.

4. What are these chemicals used for?

Many types of use are associated with these compounds, but they have been used, among other things, as:

  • Pesticides, such as insecticides, wood preservatives and fungicides.
  • Flame retardant material for electronics, furniture, carpets and textiles.
  • Plasticizer for e.g. plastic, rubber, paint and concrete.
  • Insulating coating for wires.
  • Lubricants.
  • Solvents in chemical production.
  • Food packaging.
  • Cosmetics and personal products.
  • Textiles.
  • Fat and water repellent material, which is a sought-after feature for e.g. textiles, shoes, food containers, cosmetics, pots and pans.

5. Which chemicals are banned?

Prohibited substances can be found in Annex I to Regulation (EU) 2019/1021 on persistent organic substances.

 Substances that are restricted can be found in Annex II to the same regulation.

6. Are there any exemptions granted in regards to these substances?

Prohibitions and restrictions do not apply when:

  • A substance is used in laboratory-scale research or as a reference standard.
  • A substance is present as an unintentional trace contaminant as specified in Annex I.
  • Specific uses are granted for certain compound, see Annex I.
  • A substance added to Annex I or II after 15 July 2019, then a six-month period is given if that substance is present in articles produced before or on the date that this Regulation becomes applicable to that substance.
  • A substance is present in articles already in use before or on the date that this Regulation or Regulation (EC) No 850/2004 became applicable to that substance, whichever date came first. However, Umhverfisstofnun needs to be informed regarding these articles.

7. What about stockpiles of compounds that have been banned or regulated?

Anyone who has stockpiles of substances listed in either Annex I or II where no use is permitted shall manage the stockpile as hazardous waste. See detailed instructions on waste management in Article 7 regulation (EU) 2019/1021.

Anyone who has stockpiles greater than 50 kg, consisting of or containing any substance listed in Annex I or II, and the use of which is permitted shall provide Umhverfisstofnun with information concerning the nature and size of that stockpile. For further information on stockpiles see Article 5 regulation (EU) 2019/1021.

8. What about compounds that are present in articles that were in use or placed on the market before the ban or restriction?

A substance that is present in an article already in use before or on the date that this Regulation or Regulation (EC) No 850/2004 became applicable to that substance is excluded from control measures. NOTE that this only refers to the use of an article. Marketing is not permitted unless under the conditions stated in Annex I or II to regulation (EU) 2019/1021.