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Global Health
October 17, 2012

Improving Chemical Management

JAMA. 2012;308(15):1515. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.13773

The growing use, production, and disposal of industrial and agricultural chemicals worldwide is raising an increasing number of health and environmental concerns, and governments must act to reduce the hazards posed by these agents, according to Global Chemicals Outlook: Toward Sound Management of Chemicals, a report from the United Nations Environment Programme (http://tinyurl.com/8kocxjz).

The report points out that the production and use of chemicals, including fertilizers, petrochemicals, electronics, and plastics, is shifting to emerging and developing nations, where safeguards are weaker. The report also details the financial effects of chemical exposure on national economies as well as individuals. The costs of injury due to pesticide poisoning in sub-Saharan Africa between 2005 and 2009, for example, are estimated at US $6.2 billion.