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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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The Globally Harmonized System for Classification and Labelling of Chemicals

The Globally Harmonized System (GHS) for Classification and Labelling of Chemicals standardizes communication about toxic chemicals internationally. The GHS serves as a resource for governments as they create new regulations or revise existing laws, and it provides consistency and predictability for firms involved in international trade in chemical substances and preparations. The GHS applies only to chemicals and chemical products; it does not apply to articles. However, the classifications developed within the GHS may be useful for the discussion of chemicals in articles.

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