New Resource: Chemicals of Concern to Health and Environment

Chemicals are widely used in daily life. They have a unique importance in the health-care sector, where they are used as disinfectants, cleaners, laboratory re­agents, sterilants, pesticides, medicines and pharma­ceuticals and in medical devices and equipment. The hazards of these chemicals are not well understood by health professionals nor incorporated into procure­ment decisions.

To minimize these hazards, the health sector has been taking steps to promote and implement sustainable healthcare within their institutions and to collaborate externally with suppliers and manufactures to advance sustainable procurement within the health sector. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2030 agenda are important drivers to promote sustainable health care systems. Specifically the SDG 3 on good health and wellbeing and SDG12 on sustainable con­sumption and production are key contributors.

This document includes a list of chemicals of con­cern to human health and the environment. The list is based on systematic evidence reviews from author­itative sources, which identify chemical and material hazards of concern that are carcinogenic, mutagenic, endocrine disrupting and reproductive hazards (health hazards) and bio- accumulative and persistent to the environment and/or listed in International Environ­mental instruments (Conventions). The authoritative lists and conventions referred to during the process of shortlisting of chemicals of concern are:

  • WHO’s International Agency for Research in Can­cer (IARC) list of probable and known human car­cinogens;
  • The European Union list of Substances of Very High Concern and Restricted Substance List as determined under the Registration Evaluation and Authorization of Chemical Substances (REACH) Regulation.
  • The California Proposition 65: Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986;
  • The Minamata Convention on Mercury
  • The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants
  • Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Con­sent Procedure for Certain Hazardous

This document is produced by Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Read the report

Chemicals of concern