International protection against the harmful effects of hazardous chemicals and waste

Published in the dossier of January 2017

In the light of the growing number of toxic chemicals in nature (over 100,000 counted) as well as in objects used by man, the Johannesburg Summit in 2002 set the following goal: “Achieve by 2020 that chemicals are used and produced in ways that lead to the minimization of significant adverse effects on human health and the environment.” A review of the state of play, with a focus on China, an excellent example of rapid progress in this domain.



Mercury is the latest addition to the list of chemicals recognized as being the most dangerous for the environment and health. They are also known by the name of POPs (persistent organic pollutants). They are gradually being banned on a global scale or, at the very least, extremely strictly regulated since the ratification of the Stockholm Convention.


During COP-7 of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions in May 2015, the States decided to include electronic waste in the “club” of hazardous products, as this waste contains many substances that are harmful to man and the environment: lead, phosphorus, mercury, beryllium, refrigerant fluids, PVC, etc.