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:   Michael Michener

VP, Product Policy and Innovation & Acting Program/Policy Co-Lead
Tel: 202.617.3159

Michael Michener is USCIB’s vice president of product policy and innovation, joining USCIB in early 2017. Michener is a former administrator of the U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service who has also served as a U.S. trade diplomat and association executive. Michener most recently served in Brussels as director of multilateral relations for CropLife International, representing the association before a range of international organizations – including the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, the UN Environment Program and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change – on issues related to crop protection products and agriculture biotechnology.
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