Chemical products are an indispensable part of modern daily life. Almost no industry does not use chemicals, and no economic sector does not use chemicals. Due to the thousands of chemicals on the market today, millions of people around the world are living a richer, more productive and more comfortable life. These chemicals are used in a wide variety of products and processes. Although they are the main contributors to the national and world economy, their sound management is crucial throughout the life cycle to avoid significant and increasingly complex risks to human health and ecosystems and a large number of national economic costs.

Industries that produce and use these substances have a significant impact on employment, trade and economic growth around the world, but these substances may have adverse effects on human health and the environment. Various global economic and regulatory forces affect changes in the production, transport, import, export, use and disposal of chemicals over time. Due to the growing demand for chemical products and processes, the international chemical industry has increased sharply since the 1970s. The value of global chemical output in 1970 was $171 billion; By 2010, this figure had increased to $4.12 trillion.

Many governments have enacted laws and established institutional structures to manage the increasing hazards of chemicals. Major companies have adopted chemical management programmes, and there are now many international conventions and institutions dealing with these chemicals globally. However, the background combination of chemical products is becoming more and more complex, and the chemical supply chain including waste is becoming longer and more complex, which shows that there are various gaps, errors and inconsistencies in government and international policies and enterprise practices. They exacerbate the growing concern of the international community about the threat posed by poor chemicals management to the health of communities and ecosystems and the ability to achieve the goals of the Johannesburg Plan of implementation by 2020. The production and use of chemicals will minimize significant adverse effects on the environment and human health.

These concerns are important for all countries, but are particularly prominent in industrialized economies facing urgent needs to achieve the goals of development, national security and poverty eradication. Developing countries and countries with economies in transition can learn from the fragmented approach to chemicals management unique to the conventional chemicals policies of developed countries. In order to protect human health and the environment and fully benefit from the value generated by chemical products, all countries must include means for the sound management of chemicals in their economic and social development priorities.

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