Summary of China’s Chemical Challenges

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China’s Chemical Challenges summary
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China is a prodigious manufacturer, and modern manufacturing requires prodigious use of chemicals. Traditionally, China’s regulatory emphasis has been on the combustible, explosive or extremely toxic chemicals used in manufacturing. Avoiding disastrous workplace accidents was the goal. The government has paid less attention to the slow-growing, long-term effects that industrial chemicals can have on people’s health and that of the surrounding environment. Chinadialogue’s collection of bilingual reports on China’s struggles – and victories – over chemical pollution will be eye-opening to international consumers.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How China stands to suffer most from chemical pollution,
  • Why China’s system for chemical regulations lags behind international standards, and
  • How some companies and suppliers are voluntarily creating change.
 

About the Authors

The authors write or edit for Chinadialogue, a nonprofit organization founded by Isabel Hilton that provides independent reports about China’s impact on the environment.

 

Summary

Much of the pollution from chemical manufacturing has moved from the developed world to developing countries such as China, which lacks a clear set of national laws regarding harmful chemicals. China’s Regulations on the Safety Administration of Dangerous Chemicals does regulate the use of about 3,000 substances. But the government inventory lists 46,000 chemicals currently in circulation, and the market contains possibly hundreds of thousands that aren’t listed. Lawmakers’ focus has traditionally been on preventing industrial accidents, causing regulators to ignore chemicals that other countries have designated harmful to human health. These include compounds that the European Union labels as “persistent, bio-accumulative and toxic”; “carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic for reproduction”; and “endocrine-disrupting.” Persistent contact can contribute to infertility, reproductive diseases and cancers related to the endocrine system.


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