Reacting to chemicals
Toxic chemicals threaten current and future generations. To protect them, we must change course by shifting our chemical practices to a more sustainable model.
Global data indicates rapidly growing pressure on the environment from toxic chemicals and wastes. The shift of chemical production to developing and transition countries has been accompanied by an increase in the use of pesticides, products and processes containing hazardous chemicals – including those that disrupt reproduction, cause birth defects and persist in the environment and human bodies causing harm.
Weak national legislation, sparse or non-existent information about the environmental and health effects of toxic chemicals, lack of funding and poor technological and human resources in developing and transition economies all make these countries vulnerable to and disproportionally affected by toxic hazards.
While developed countries strengthen their environmental and health legislation, developing and transition countries still struggle with problems that are not considered an issue in the developed world any more. An example is lead in paint, which still poses a threat to children in most developing economies. Many still struggle with stockpiles of obsolete and banned pesticides that pollute their soil, water and food, threatening the health of people and wildlife. And they have been turned into dumping grounds for newer hazardous pesticides already banned in the developed world but made by its companies and aggressively marketed to developing countries.
photo credit: Photosightfaces