164318 Controlling toxic trade: Policy, politics, pitfalls and potentials

Wednesday, November 7, 2007: 12:45 PM

Susanna Rankin Bohme, PhD , Editorial, International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, Attleboro, MA
International trade in hazardous chemicals and other materials has emerged as an issue of concern in an era of globalization in which cross-border movements of commodities have intensified and the power of states to set and enforce environmental and occupational health standards may be compromised. Hazardous materials such as pesticides and asbestos have a disproportionate health impact in the developing world; at the same time developing world nations have relatively less power in global trade agenda-setting, face pressure to relax occupational and environmental health standards to attract investment, and have few resources to enforce health and safety regulations. Over the past decades, various efforts to control toxic trade have emerged at the national and international levels. This presentation will examine a few of these, including: international conventions such as the Basel Ban (on the export of hazardous waste), Rotterdam Convention (Prior Informed Consent for the importation of hazardous chemicals) and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants; national efforts to block the import or export of various hazardous products; consumer movements hoping to reduce the international flow of toxics; and the potential of litigation to hold producers, exporters and employers accountable for the occupational and environmental harms caused by hazardous chemicals traded internationally. The successes and drawbacks of various approaches will be examined with an eye to considering policy alternatives for the United States.

Learning Objectives:
Understand how toxins circulate in the global economy. Identify public health impact of internationally traded toxic materials. Describe various efforts to control toxic trade. Discuss pros and cons of various efforts to control toxic trade.

Keywords: Toxicants, International Public Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.