Precautionary principle should be applied to chemicals

At the 70th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Wemos delivered a statement on the roadmap on chemical management in collaboration with Medicus Mundi International and the People’s Health Movement. This is an important moment because the international community is about to adopt this roadmap.

The new roadmap is designed to guide countries on managing hazardous chemicals and to reduce harm to human health and the environment. It is an ambitious plan which we strongly support. However, with the statement at the WHA, we wanted to address several concerns to the international community.


Ignoring evidence

We raised the concern that while there is evidence on the harmful health effects of many chemicals, this evidence is too often ignored. We stressed that countries should apply the precautionary principle and that manufacturers should be held accountable. Moreover, we mentioned the importance of binding agreements, to prevent polluting industries from moving from high- income countries to low-income countries.


High costs for society

Also, we stressed that the World Health Organization and the international community should address the harmful effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). This is a case in which scientific evidence is repeatedly ignored, with high societal costs as a consequence.


‘A framework convention to deal with the full range of harmful chemicals to protect human health, the health of our unborn children and the environment, is needed. We urge the WHO to strive for a global binding agreement on harmful chemicals that hold MS accountable.’


Wemos hopes that all countries heard the message and will take it into account when implementing the roadmap.


The full statement can be read or watched here.

More work from Wemos on chemicals can be found here.

More work from the people’s health movement at the WHA70 can be found here.

The roadmap on chemical management for countries can be found here.

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