UN issues health warning over chemical misuseOctober 2012
Increased chemical misuse is causing health and environmental damage, especially in emerging economies, and governments must do more to carry out a promised clean-up by 2020, a UN report claims. Production and use of chemicals, from plastics to pesticides, is shifting to developing nations where safeguards are often weaker, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said, adding that poisonings from industrial and agricultural chemicals are among the top five leading causes of death worldwide, contributing to more than a million deaths every year. UNEP head Achim Steiner said: “The gains that chemicals can provide must not come at the expense of human health and the environment.” The report added that the figures might understate the damage as scientists have only assessed the risks of using a fraction of an estimated 140,000 chemicals marketed worldwide.
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