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Toxic Substances in Articles

The Need for Information

image of Toxic Substances in Articles

The use of toxic chemicals in articles is a growing concern for public health and the environment. International trade results in substances being transported among regions. From toys and household items to electronic equipment and automobiles, toxic substances in articles are an increasingly important factor contributing to the global burden of toxic substances. Toxic substances in articles may pose threats at every stage of the product life cycle - production, use, and disposal or recycling. In this report, we consider a factor that is critical for the sound management of substances in articles: the availability of information. At present, there is no global system for provision of information about substances in a wide range of articles. First, the report describes the problem of toxic substances in articles, with detailed case studies of selected examples and considers the advantages that would result from better information management systems. Second, the report considers existing efforts to generate and disseminate information about substances in articles, both regulatory requirements and voluntary initiatives. Third, the report offers suggestions as to the questions and themes that would need to be considered in order to improve management of information about substances in articles.

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Existing legal requirements for information on substances in articles

In the absence of any internationally standardized approach to information on chemicals in articles, some jurisdictions have created information disclosure requirements. Some systems require labelling, while others require firms to submit information to government registries. Some provide chemical names, while others provide information on chronic health effects. In this section, we summarize the requirements of selected legal systems of interest. In this discussion, we focus strictly on articles, and do not discuss the many additional regulations governing chemical products.

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