In order to strengthen the chemicals in products campaign in Nepal towards effective SAICM implementation in the country using chemical in toys as an example, a comprehensive study of chemicals in products (toys) was carried out by CEPHED and IPEN in January-June 2018 using XRF screening of heavy metals in 52 toys and laboratory analysis of 13 phthalates in five toy samples.

https://ipen.org/documents/toxic-chemicals-childrens-products-nepal

Sectors of activity
Consumer Goods, Education, Waste, incl. Chemicals

Type of initiative
Capacity Building & Implementation, Education & Awareness Raising, Policy Frameworks & Tools

Type of lead actor
Civil society

Start date
15/11/2017

End date
14/06/2018

Shared by

Olga Speranskaya

Co-Director, Senior Policy Advisor, Board member

Health and Environment Justice Support, IPEN

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Objectives

The main objective of the project is to raise stakeholder awareness in Nepal on hazards of chemicals in products, and specifically in children products (toys), to assess efforts to promote a life-cycle approach to managing toxic chemicals in products, and promote precautionary action and informed choice.

Project outcomes will lead to a shift towards:
- regular compliance monitoring of toxic chemicals in toys;.
- enforcement of the national standard on phthalates to ensure all toys meet the national limit of less than 0.01% for phthalate in toys.
- strengthening of the implementation of SAICM and its emerging policy issues and other issues of concern in Nepal with a priority focus on chemicals in products.

It will also lead to changes in consumption and production of consumer products in Nepal and more strict regulations that will help control product import in the country.

Activities

As collected through the One Planet Reporting

No activities have yet been reported under this initiative

Impact and Results

Toxic chemicals identified in children’s products threaten the health of infants and children who are especially vulnerable as they are more sensitive to the effects of toxic chemicals when their organs are still developing, and their bodies are less able to detoxify. The presence of these substances in children’s products violates the fundamental right of children to health ensured by the Constitution of Nepal and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) of which Nepal has been a Party for more than 25 years.

To protect the health of children and ensure their right to health, the following recommendations have been developed to reduce risks from exposure to toxic chemicals in toys.

• The 2017 Nepal toy standard should be reinforced and effectively implemented
• Regular compliance monitoring should be conducted of toxic chemicals in toys and the results should be publicly available.
• Information on the chemical ingredients in toys on labels should be mandatory under Nepal toy standard.
• Non-governmental organisations and civil society groups should cooperate with government agencies to raise public awareness on toxic chemicals in toys and their impacts on human health and environment.
• Full information disclosure on chemicals contained in toys and other children’s products should be provided throughout the life cycle of the products.
• Enforce the national standard on phthalates to ensure all toys meet the national limit of less than 0.01% for phthalate in toys.
• The Government of Nepal should become an official member of the Chemicals in Products Programme developed in the frame of SAICM and adopted at ICCM4 in 2015, and ensure its implementation in Nepal.
• The implementation of SAICM and its emerging policy issues and other issues of concern in Nepal should be strengthened with a priority focus on chemicals in products, endocrine disrupting chemicals, and hazardous substances within the lifecycle of electrical and electronic products.

Next steps and how to get involved

In 2015 SAICM Chemicals in Products Programme was adopted with the objective to facilitate the provision, availability and access to information on chemicals in products. However the implementation of the CiP Programme has been slow and current efforts and capacities to provide information about chemicals of concern in products are inadequate.

A large number of products on the market are not adequately labeled or not labeled at all. Most articles are sold with insufficient or even no information on their chemical ingredients. Almost no products include basic information regarding manufacturers or environmental and health impacts throughout the whole life-cycle.

To better analyze the situation with the availability and access to information on chemicals in products, IPEN has initiated pilot projects on CiP Programme implementation with the focus on children’s products including toys. This product category was chosen for the following reasons:
-the vulnerability of children to chemical exposures and health impacts;
- increased consumption of toys;
- the prevalence of imported toys with unknown material composition;
- use of toxic metals and other hazardous substances, including phthalates in toys;
- lack of information on hazards of toys;
- ineffective regulation on toy safety;
- the possibility of recalled toys from developed countries being sent to developing countries where there is little control;
- likelihood of recycled plastics with often unknown content of hazardous substances (such as brominated flame-retardants).

In many cases, the national supervisory bodies rely on importers' documentation. Toys undergo testing only on requests of producers, traders and consumers.

IPEN CiP project initiative consists of the following main activities:

1. Product label analysis, including a brief analysis of the national voluntary or legally binding system of product labeling;
2. Compare the results of the product label analysis with those conducted within the pilot projects in Nepal, the Philippines, Serbia and Armenia;
3. Literature analysis on toxic chemicals in toys;
4. Evaluation of national efforts to disclose information on chemicals in children’s products;
5. Outreach activities aimed at raising stakeholder awareness on the importance of chemicals in products information disclosure based on SAICM CiP programme ;
6. Prepare recommendations for improvements of chemicals in products information disclosure.