International Programme on Chemical Safety

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The International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS), was established in 1980, is a joint programme of collaboration between three United Nations bodies, the World Health Organization WHO, the International Labour Organization ILO, and the United Nations Environment Programme UNEP. See WHO entry [1]

The WHO is the Executing Agency of the IPCS, whose main roles are to establish the scientific basis for safe use of chemicals, to implementing programs related to chemical safety, and to strengthen national capabilities and capacities for chemical safety."[1]

The preliminary objective of the IPCS is to establish the scientific basis for the assessment of any risk to health and the environment from chemical exposure. It does this through international peer review processes (a prerequisite for the promotion of chemical safety) and then it follows up by providing technical assistance to strengthen national capacities for the sound management of the chemical.

Recommendations were made at the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development to strengthen cooperation and increase coordination in the field of chemical safety. This resulted in the establishment in 1995 of the Inter-Organization Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals (IOMC) by UNEP, ILO, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, WHO, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The purpose of the IOMC is to "promote coordination of the policies and activities pursued by the participating organizations, jointly or separately, to achieve the sound management of chemicals in relation to human health and the environment."

Terminology & Glossary

  • See IPCS Risk Assessment Terminology. [2]


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