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Project

Chemicals Without Concern

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Towards safer products for our environment and health 

The project Chemicals Without Concern focuses on two Emerging Policy Issues (EPI) from the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM ): Lead in Paint; and Chemicals in Products, which present particular environmental and health challenges linking to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The project also focuses on the need for knowledge management, information exchange and strategic planning to ensure concerted and coordinated action on all EPIs, and this website is one of the tools created to advance towards such goal.

*Map tooltip indicates 6 stages of drafting lead in paint laws: #1 No progress; #2 Government interest; #3 First steps taken; #4 Early stages of drafting; #5 Final stages of drafting, and #6 Final lead paint law.

Lead paint component of the "Chemicals Without Concern" project

The lead in paint component promotes regulatory and voluntary action by government and industry to phase out lead in paint. The project outcome is for at least 40 countries to legislate and implement legislation on lead paint. To achieve this outcome, the first project output will address the technical barriers in the manufacture of paints with no lead additives. At least 35 small and medium paint manufacturing enterprises  (SMEs) in seven countries are expected to phase out lead from their production processes. Activities to achieve this output are:

  • Provision of the draft technical guidelines on paint reformulation drafted by the National Clean Production Centre (NCPC) Serbia to the NCPCs in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, China and Jordan as well as to the International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN) to work in Indonesia and Nigeria
  • Assessment and selection of SMEs based on criteria set by NCPC Serbia and pilot testing of the paint reformulation guidelines
  • Organization of events where alternative suppliers will be engaged
  • Provision of policy advice to national governments to support the adoption of a lead paint law
  • Finalization of the technical guidelines based on lessons learned and the provision of the final guidelines to the ICCM at its 5th session (Bonn, October 2020)

The second project output will address the barrier on lack of capacities in developing countries to introduce and enforce lead paint limits. The main activity is advocacy with governments for policy development and assistance in drafting lead paint laws. Activities to achieve this output are:

  • Conduct of 4 regional workshops to provide an overview of the Lead Paint Alliance, the recommended actions and available advice to support the establishment of lead paint laws
  • Drafting of country approach documents and provision of technical assistance by the project advisors. The documents express the needs, the types of support and the next steps to adopt a lead paint law in a country.

Chemicals in products component of the "Chemicals Without Concern" project

Component 2 on "life cycle management of chemicals present in products", focuses on chemicals of concern in three sectors (building products, electronics and toys) and how to minimize the adverse effects of chemicals of concern. The component is developing new tools and guidance to reduce the use of chemicals of concern in the building products, electronics and toys sectors and provides training and support for government and value chain actors to trial and adopt new guidance and tools. 

The project will, therefore, accelerate the adoption of measures by governments and value chains to track and control chemicals in supply chains for building products, electronics and toys. It will address the following barriers: creating demand-led and market-based incentives for supply chains to act via public procurement and sustainable finance measures; developing quantitative life cycle assessment tools to compare chemical alternatives and avoid regrettable substitutions, and enhancing the ambition of and compliance with regulatory requirements on CoC.

Knowledge Management of the "Chemicals Without Concern" project

The third component explores ways to create, manage and disseminate knowledge on chemicals of concern. The knowledge platform chemicalswithoutconcern.org is a key tool developed within this component. The implementation follows a Knowledge Management Strategy that will be constantly updated throughout the project timeline. It will explore different tools and processes to better manage knowledge cycles, aiming at interlinking knowledge from multiple stakeholders. Communities of practice and new technologies such as artificial intelligence will be piloted to support collaborative and innovative exchanges.

Stakeholders

The project involves the following groups of stakeholders for a successful implementation:

Project partners

American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI)

Green Electronics Council

Global Green Knowledge Platform

International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN)

World Coatings Council (previously IPPIC)

International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

International Sustainable Chemistry Collaborative Centre (ISC3)

National Cleaner Production Centres (NCPCs)

One Planet Network

Secretariat of the Economic Organization of West African States (ECOWAS)

UN Environment Chemicals and Health Branch

UN Environment Resources and Market Branch

UN Environment Finance Initiative

University of Cape Town

US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA)

World Health Organization

USEtox International Center

Life Cycle Initiative

  • Policy document
    Plastics and Chemicals of Concern In Consumer Products

    Plastics and Chemicals of Concern In Consumer Products

    Plastics are used across the economy and in diverse downstream sectors such as packaging, construction, transportation, healthcare, textiles, and Read More
  • Manuals and toolkits
    Brief guide to analytical methods for measuring lead in paint (Second edition)

    Brief guide to analytical methods for measuring lead in paint (Second edition)

    Lead is a toxic metal whose widespread use has caused extensive environmental contamination and health problems in many parts of the world. Human Read More
  • Academic article
    Life cycle based alternatives assessment (LCAA) for chemical substitution

    Life cycle based alternatives assessment (LCAA) for chemical substitution

    The world faces an increasing need to phase out harmful chemicals and design sustainable alternatives across various consumer products and industrial applications. Alternatives assessment is an emerging field focusing on identifying viable solutions to substitute harmful chemicals. However, current methods fail to consider trade-offs from human and ecosystem exposures, and from impacts associated with chemical supply chains and product life cycles. To close this gap, we propose a life cycle based alternatives assessment (LCAA) framework for consistently integrating quantitative exposure and life cycle impact estimates in the substitution process. Read More
  • Newsletter
    SAICM Secretariat Newsletter

    SAICM Secretariat Newsletter

    We are pleased to share with you the SAICM's quarterly newsletter to share the latest highlights, upcoming events, and resources developed by the Read More
  • Policy document
    Chemicals of Concern in electronics: List of Lists and Regulatory Frameworks

    Chemicals of Concern in electronics: List of Lists and Regulatory Frameworks

    Chemicals in products and hazardous substances within the life cycle of electrical and electronic products have been longstanding emerging policy Read More
  • Report
    Summary on Chemicals in Toys Policy in China

    Summary on Chemicals in Toys Policy in China

    China is one of the largest producers, exporters and consumers of toy products in the world. In order to ensure the quality and safety of toys, and to Read More
  • Report
    Update on the Global Status of Legal Limits on Lead in Paint

    Update on the Global Status of Legal Limits on Lead in Paint

    As of 30 September 2019, 73 countries have legally binding controls to limit the production, import and sale of lead paints, which is 38% of all Read More
  • Infographic
    Interactive visualisation of the status of lead paint laws

    Interactive visualisation of the status of lead paint laws

    The interactive map shows the status of national lead paint laws as provided by governments to UNEP and WHO, Secretariat of the Global Alliance Read More
  • Factsheets and brochures
    Suggested Steps for Establishing a Lead Paint Law

    Suggested Steps for Establishing a Lead Paint Law

    This fact sheet outlines steps that have been helpful in countries that have adopted lead paint laws. The steps are not necessarily sequential or Read More
  • Policy document
    Model Law and Guidance for Regulating Lead Paint

    Model Law and Guidance for Regulating Lead Paint

    UN Environment, in cooperation with World Health Organization, United States Environment Protection Agency and other partners, has developed a model Read More