Preliminary political agreement reached

SW – 07/2022

The European Parliament and the European Council have reached a preliminary political agreement on the revision of the Regulation (EU) 2019/1021 on persistent organic pollutants (POPs Regulation).

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are chemicals that remain in the environment for long periods of time, accumulate in food chains and can harm human health and the environment. These include, for example, pesticides (such as DDT), industrial chemicals (such as polychlorinated biphenyls, which were widely used in electrical equipment) and by-products generated by industrial processes, decomposition or combustion (e.g. dioxins and furans).

Although POPs are no longer used in new products, they can still be found in waste from consumer products such as waterproof textiles, furniture, plastics and electronics. In recycling management, where waste is increasingly used as a secondary raw material, it is crucial to limit the occurrence of POPs in waste.

The preliminary agreement provides for stricter concentration limits for a number of substances or groups of substances in waste, in some cases also a gradual reduction of the values. In addition to the tightening of concentration limits in Annex IV and V of the POPs Regulation, further chemicals are to be added to the list of POPs.

The limits must be reviewed and reassessed five years after the Regulation enters into force. The European Commission is required to consider whether EU waste legislation needs to be amended to classify waste containing POPs in concentrations above the limits set out in Annex IV of the POPs Regulation as hazardous.


The European Commission has published its Proposal for the revision of Annexes IV and V of the POPs Regulation on 28 October 2021. The proposal is a further step towards creating an economy with stronger focus on recycling management and should contribute to achieving the zero-pollutant target of the European Green Deal and the Sustainable Chemicals Strategy.

With its proposal, the European Commission also wants to ensure that the EU meets its international obligations, in particular to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.

To combat the hazards posed by POPs, the international community has concluded several agreements to reduce and eliminate these substances, including the Stockholm Convention, which entered into force in 2004. The Parties to the Convention undertake to take measures to eliminate or reduce the release of POPs into the environment. In Europe, the ⁠Stockholm Convention⁠ is implemented by the POPs Regulation.

Next steps

The preliminary political agreement must now be formally confirmed by the European Parliament and the European Council.