USCIB Cautions Against WHO Motion to Ban Chemicals

chemicals_globe_lo-resThe World Health Organization recently urged the United Nations Commission on Narcotic drugs to ban two chemical substances commonly found in electronics, telecommunications and other products following findings that these substances can be used for illicit purposes.

USCIB and its membership appreciate the WHO’s concern regarding the misuse of these two chemicals, 1,4-butanedio (BDO) and gamma-butyrolactone (GBL). However, in a submission last week to the Federal Register Notice to help inform the U.S. government on the issue, USCIB urged the FDA to consider the potential adverse economic impact of banning the use or restricting the manufacturing of those substances.

“GBL and BDO are high-volume industrial chemicals with multiple uses that touch nearly every part of the economy,” USCIB wrote in a statement. “The chemical industry takes significant steps to educate its customers and coordinate with regulators and law enforcement authorities to help prevent diversion and misuse of its products.”

Furthermore, the industries that manufacture and use BDO and GBL have adopted product stewardship programs that supplement the requirements of existing laws.

Banning these substances entirely would hurt a wide range of U.S. industries. Given the critical importance of GBL and BDO to the U.S. economy, the product stewardship programs that are in place to help prevent the misuses of these substances and the potentially devastating impacts of listing under the Psychotropic Convention, USCIB urges the U.S. Government to oppose listing these chemicals under the Convention.


Staff Contact:   Brian Lowry

Senior VP, Innovation, Regulation, and Trade
Tel: 202.617.3159

Brian Lowry leads USCIB’s policy work on trade, health, food, agriculture, chemicals, and intellectual property. He also coordinates USCIB’s engagement in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. Lowry joined USCIB in February 2021 having previously worked as an executive in the agriculture and crop science industry. Through his role as an executive, Lowry was also a longtime USCIB corporate member leader, as well as co-chair of USCIB’s working group on the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Post-2015 Development Agenda. Lowry was also the first board chair of the UN Global Compact Network USA.
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