International Programme on Chemical Safety

Helping to protect children from the harmful effects of chemicals

Children are not little adults: they have special vulnerabilities to the toxic effects of chemicals.

Children’s exposure to chemicals at critical stages in their physical and cognitive development may have severe long-term consequences for health.

Priority concerns include exposure to air pollutants, pesticides and persistent organic pollutants (POPs), lead, mercury, arsenic, mycotoxins and hazardous chemicals in the workplace.

Our aims are to

  • Reduce the impact of toxic exposures in children and contribute to creating healthier environments in the places where children live, play, learn and work.
  • Enable health, environment and other sectors to better identify, assess and prevent the toxic effects of chemicals in children.

We do this by

  • Promoting international collaboration in relation to children’s environmental health.
  • Promoting the collection of harmonized data to assess the magnitude of the problem.
  • Developing improved methodologies to assess the risks of environmental hazards in children.
  • Preparing training guides and information materials for physicians and health care professionals
  • Providing guidance on the rapid assessment of the status of children’s environmental health and exposure to chemicals in countries.
  • Raising awareness and build capacity in response to global, regional and country needs, as required.

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