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SAICM Emerging Policy Issues Video

Have you ever noticed how many chemicals shape people’s daily lives? They keep homes sparkling clean, boost food production, and are included in virtually all manufactured goods surrounding you right now. Chemicals drive the economy but as we produce more than ever before, they have to deliver their benefits without damaging our health and environment.

Toxic lead paint for example is still used in many regions of the world and Highly hazardous pesticides continue to poison agricultural workers and contaminate the environment.  Better understanding of such hazards led governments to create stricter regulations for handling toxic chemicals and many industries replaced them with safer alternatives that were just as effective. Unfortunately, not all people have benefited from this development, and, in particular, people in the global south remain exposed to hazardous substances that have long been banned elsewhere.

We also face new challenges in keeping our world safe from chemicals found in products. Workers who assemble and recycle the vast numbers of electronic devices, for example, often suffer from exposure to toxic fumes, and everyday products such as toys and clothes contain a complex array of chemical compounds, some of which are endocrine disrupting chemicals that interfere with the normal development of living organisms by disrupting our hormonal systems. Consumers now increasingly demand information on the chemical safety of the products they are buying.

There are also many compounds with long-term effects we don’t yet fully understand – like the tiny particles used in nanotechnology, the highly persistent perfluorinated chemicals from non-stick coating in frying pans, and the residues of pharmaceuticals released by households, livestock production and drug manufacturing.

The Strategic Approach to International Chemicals management, called SAICM, is the international policy framework on chemical safety, administered by United Nations Environment. SAICM serves the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in fighting poverty and protecting our planet. Although chemicals are used locally, global cooperation among governments and industry is crucial for their environmentally sound management. SAICM has been guiding this unique global dialogue since 2006. It spotlights emerging policy issues and issues of concern, and unites governments, industry and civil society to agree on priorities for cooperative action. This framework supports policymakers in adopting adequate legislation so that eventually, chemicals serve our well-being without compromise. 

SAICM, working toward a chemical safe world together.