US KMG Chemicals defends use of pentachlorophenol

17 October 2012 14:11  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--KMG Chemicals on Wednesday defended the use of its wood treatment chemical pentachlorophenol (penta), saying that the product should not be listed as a persistent organic pollutant (POP).

The Houston-based specialty chemicals producer was reacting to a report by a review committee of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants this week that recommended the listing of penta as a POP. A listing would be the initial step in restricting or prohibiting uses of penta in countries that have ratified the convention.

KMG said that the committee’s recommendation “ignored sound science”.

“The review committee concluded, in the face of contrary, credible science, that the presence in the Arctic Circle of pentachloroanisole, a chemical to which penta and many other chemicals degrade in the environment, was attributable to penta and justified the decision,” KMG said in a statement.  

“We believe the committee was wrong in that conclusion, and believe other chemical precursors are the source of the pentachloroanisole found in remote regions,” the company said.

“We further believe that neither penta nor pentachloroanisole meet the bioaccumulation criterion established under the Stockholm Convention,” it said.

“We firmly believe that the committee was incorrect in its decision to recommend listing penta as a POP, and we will continue to make that case with good science before the full Conference of the Parties,” KMG said.

The full Conference of the Parties of the Stockholm Convention must approve the listing, and if approved, a decision must be made on whether to merely restrict the uses of penta or prohibit its use entirely. This is a multi-year process, the company said.

KMG said that the US, which is its main market for penta, has not ratified the Stockholm Convention.

In fact, the US Environmental Protection Agency recently favourably re-evaluated penta, re-approving it for use in pressure treating utility poles and some other applications in the US, KMG said.

KMG’s penta sales to Canada could be affected should penta be listed as a POP as Canada has ratified the convention, it said.

However, for the time being, “there is every reason to believe that the use of penta on utility poles and cross-arms will be allowed to continue in Canada”, because Canada also recently re-evaluated penta and approved its use in pressure treating utility poles and cross-arms, KMG added.

In its recent fiscal 2012 fourth quarter report, KMG said that a strong performance by its penta product line helped improve operation margins in its wood treatment chemicals segment.

KMG has two core businesses: electronic chemicals and wood treatment chemicals.

By: Stefan Baumgarten
+1 713 525 2653

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