Chemicals Overview

For OSPAR purposes, hazardous substances are defined as substances which are persistent, liable to bioaccumulate and toxic (PBT substances), or which give rise to an equivalent level of concern as the PBT substances.

In 2002 OSPAR established a List of Substances of Possible Concern and revised the List of Chemicals for Priority Action (see diagram). The purpose was to select those hazardous substances that needed to be addressed under the Strategy and to identify the substances which should be given priority in OSPAR’s work. Selection and prioritisation were based on information on substances’ intrinsic properties, using OSPAR cut-off values for PBT properties. Since 2002, a number of substances have been deselected from the lists based on new information.

In light of developments in the chemicals sector in the European Community, particularly the Water Framework Directive Watch List, and other international agreements including the regulation on registration, evaluation and authorisation of chemicals (REACH), Stockholm Protocol (United Nations) and the International Maritime Organisation, OSPAR is undertaking a full review of the two Lists (LCPA and LSPC) to filter and rationalise them. New Lists are expected to be published in 2021/22.