Tough new international restrictions on using nine pesticides came into force yesterday [Monday] as part of the 2001 Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), which has now cleared all its bureaucratic ratification hurdles.

The products include the aldrin, dieldrin and heptachlor (whose production is now banned and use restricted as an insecticide, in agriculture and to kill termites, respectively), endrin and toxaphene (both use and production are now banned), plus DDT, chlordane and mirex, whose production (and use) will be allowed, but controlled.

Practical action to ensure these polluting pesticides are phased out will be agreed at a meeting in Punta del Este, Uruguay, in May 2005.