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This site is archived and not updated as of 1 February 2017

For current information, please visit the New SAICM site

Chemicals of Public Health Concern in the African Region and their Management: Regional Assessment Report

A new and comprehensive report by the WHO Africa region has assessed chemicals and their management on the
continent. From heavy metals to fluoride, asbestos, air pollutants and more, the report describes the main chemicals of public health importance and their health impacts and management processes at country level.

The report assesses existing systems and capacity for prevention, detection and management of risks posed by chemicals, and addresses waste management in sectors such as petrochemicals, plastics, and medical use. For example, Africa continues to be at risk from hazardous electronic waste dumping because monitoring capability and institutional mechanisms for managing such waste are inadequate. Treatment of nanotechnology and electronics’ lifecycle is one of the emerging issues being tackled by The Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management  (SAICM) – the WHO report also notes that the influx of low quality computers, cell phones and other electronic equipment makes it urgent to implement stricter import regulations and to develop mechanisms to collect non-functioning items.

The assessment offers more than 25 recommendations and priority actions that cover human resource capacity, legislation and policy, and surveillance capacity as well as management of chemical waste and stockpiles, and decontamination of sites and facilities.