Strengthening children’s health

Chemical substances play an indispensable role in our daily routines. With a staggering 40,000 industrial chemicals circulating globally and hundreds of new ones introduced annually, the unchecked proliferation of hazardous compounds poses a grave threat to environmental and human health. Of particular concern is the impact on children, who can bear the brunt of these toxins, even from birth.
In both 2021 and 2023, the World Future Council recognized the urgency of this issue by awarding its prestigious Future Policy Award to initiatives addressing chemical management.

Protection from Hazardous Chemicals

The Future Policy Award 2021 was 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 topics addressed by the award were Chemicals Across the life cycle, Highly Hazardous Pesticides, Lead in Paint and Environmentally Persistent Pharmaceutical Pollutants. Especially the topic Lead in Paint was relevant regarding children’s health. It is estimated that that exposure to lead causes 143,000 cases of deaths, and 600,000 cases of intellectual disabilities in children every year.

There is urgent need for inspiring policies to regulate for a future with toxics. Toxic exposure in children is a significant concern due to their smaller size and hence greater relative exposure and because of their developing internal organs. As such, chemical safety plays an important role in protecting children’s health and calls for the sound management of chemicals and waste throughout their life cycles.

Regulating and reducing exposure to hazardous chemicals is also essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG 3 (good health and well-being), SDG 5 (gender equality), SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation), SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth) and SDG 12 (responsible production and consumption).

In tandem with the esteemed Future Policy Award, we have proudly unveiled our latest policy report: “A Healthy Planet for Healthy Children – Policies for a Future without Toxics,” a testament to our commitment to nurturing a sustainable future.

Moreover, we orchestrated a distinguished high-level webinar, fostering dialogue and disseminating invaluable insights on commendable policies and pressing actions imperative for progress.


For a toxic-free world

In 2023 we continued dedicating the Future Policy Award to the very urgent topic on hazardous chemicals and their harmful impact on children’s health and wellbeing and future generations. The Future Policy Award 2023 focussed on chemicals in products specifically designed for children but also on products that surround children. Hazardous chemicals refer to numerous substances and include groups like PFAS (water and grease repellents), Phthalates (plasticizers), Bisphenols (e.g., stabilizers, softeners, flame retardants) and Heavy Metals. Other worries that are particularly associated with synthetic substances include their environmental impact when they accumulate in the food chain, water, and soil. The categories were: toys, food packaging, cosmetics, and dental amalgam.