Protect present and future generation from hazardous chemicals
Currently, there are over 40,000 industrial chemicals in commerce worldwide and more than hundreds of new chemicals enter the market every year. Far too few have been properly tested for safety. Particularly problematic are chemicals that end up in our environment, in water bodies, soil or air, in the food chain or in drinking water, or that accumulate in our bodies or other organisms. Hazardous chemicals, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), phthalates, heavy metals such as lead, pesticides, and environmentally persistent pharmaceutical pollutants, can cause irreversible harm to the health of humans, fauna, flora and ecosystems.
There are enormous costs associated with the unsound management of chemicals and waste. The World Health Organization estimated the burden of disease from exposure to selected chemicals at 1.6 million lives in 2016. The presence of hazardous substances in the environment is the cause of global chemical pollution. Many types of pollution are increasing. There is growing concern about the long-term health effects of exposure to harmful chemicals and waste, which include various forms of cancer, reproductive disorders, learning disabilities, and other adverse health impacts.
Especially children are disproportionately affected. Today, the majority of babies are born pre-polluted, with myriad harmful chemicals in their bodies, which impact their health. As a result, a silent pandemic of disability and disease is spreading in association with exposure to toxins and pollution during childhood.
Most effective policy solutions to protect people and the environment from hazardous chemicals
We face a dramatic number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals as well as air, water and soil pollution and contamination. This is impacting present and future generations as well as our environment. It is therefore absolutely critical that we strengthen the sound management of chemicals and waste – through inclusive, effective, inspiring and innovative laws and policies. More ambitious worldwide action by all stakeholders is urgently required. This is why in 2021, the Future Policy Award is dedicated to the most effective policy solutions that minimise the adverse effects of exposure to chemicals on human health, with a focus on children’s health, and the environment.The Award will highlight that solutions do exist; solutions that are ambitious and impactful.