Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP)

Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP) are highly toxic chemical compounds that are slow to break down and prone to long-range transport. The compounds get transported great distances from their original source by air, water and animals.

POPs are harmful because they remain in the environment for a long time and even low concentrations may be harmful to humans and the environment. Many POP compounds are lipid-soluble and accumulate in consumers at the top of the food chain. Long-term and combined effects of POPs are yet unknown.

The use of POPs has been restricted by the global Stockholm Convention that limits the use and emissions of persistent organic pollutants. In the EU, the convention has been brought into force by the EU Regulation on POPs. The regulation is directly applicable in all EU Member States. Any amendments to the Stockholm Convention are brought into force by adding the new compounds to the EU Regulation on POPs.


The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) participates in the identification of new POPs and collects information on compliance with the regulation from Member States. In addition, the Enforcement Forum of ECHA coordinates the surveillance of the Regulation on POPs within the EU.

In Finland, Tukes supervises compliance with prohibitions and restrictions related to manufacturing and placing on the market of substances as referred to in articles 3 and 4 of the Regulation on POPs. Finnish Customs supervises prohibitions and restrictions on POPs in connection with import. ELY centres and municipal environmental protection authorities supervise prohibitions and restrictions related to the use of POPs. The Finnish Environment Institute acts as the competent authority under the Regulation on POPs.