About Chemicals in products

Chemicals are important components in many of the products modern society uses and relies on. However, Chemicals of concern may be released at any stage of the product life cycle. resulting in potential exposures of humans and the environment, including from both newly produced products and products already present in society. Only a few of these chemicals are currently regulated or banned under the Basel, Stockholm and Minamata Conventions. These chemicals of concern are found in consumer products all over the world, resulting in the potential exposure of workers during manufacture, of consumers during use, of informal sectors involved in recycling and disposal with emphasis on women and children, and of the environment.

Access to Chemicals in Products (CiP) information is a global issue. It requires collaboration on a worldwide scale, across stakeholder lines and through the entire life cycle. Sharing information on chemicals in products between all stakeholders involved in the lifecycle is important for protecting human health and the environment. However, few systems are developed to inform on what exactly is in the product. The lack of information on chemicals in products is one of the obstacles to achieving a reduction of risks from these chemicals. Access to chemicals in products (CiP) information is a necessary condition to enable sound management of chemicals in everyday products, not only within manufacturing but also throughout the product’s life cycle.

The transparency of information about chemicals in global supply chains has been an emerging policy issue for the SAICM since 2009, leading to programmes such as the UNEP Chemicals in Products (CiP) Programme. The CiP programme focuses specifically on the textilestoyselectronics and building materials sectors.

To date, documentation of chemicals of concern in products often does not exist, and even when information about chemicals in products is available, it is often not made available outside supply chains or used for sound management. Measures to reduce chemicals of concern in products need to consider the whole value chain. Within a product life-cycle, specific stages, processes or product categories can be identified that account for a significant proportion of the impact of chemicals of concern.