A need to examine the global flow of lead and cadmium in products was identified as a data and information gap in the draft final reviews of scientific information on lead and cadmium (version of November 2008).
UNEP has recently prepared, with financial support of the Nordic Council of Ministers and the assistance of Grupo GEA and the International POPs Elimination Network, studies on the analyis of the trade flows and review of environmentally sound management practices related to products containing lead, cadmium and mercury in Latin America and the Caribbean and in Asia and the Pacific, respectively.
These studies were presented at the next UNEP GC26 as documents UNEP/GC.26/INF/11/Add.3 and UNEP/GC.26/INF/11/Add.4 , repectively.
Documents will be available in this Lead and Cadmium website as well as at the UNEP GC26's website. An advance version of the Latin America and the Caribbean study (both in Spanish and English) is available now.
Previously, the UNEP Governing Council through its Decision 25/5 II taken in February 2009 noted that the import and export of new and used products containing lead, cadmium and mercury, remains a challenge for developing countries and countries with economies in transition which lack the capacity to manage and dispose of the substances in products in an environmentally sound manner. UNEP had prepared the “Study on the possible effects on Human Health and the Environment in Asia and the Pacific of the trade of products containing Lead, Cadmium and Mercury” in January of 2011. This study reaffirms the concerns of the Governing Council and can confirm that developing countries in the Asia and Pacific region remain challenged by the management and disposal of products containing lead, cadmium and mercury.
During 2008, UNEP conducted a study on the possible effects on human health and the environment in Africa of the trade of products containing lead, cadmium, which was noted by the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum at its 25th session in February 2009. The meeting report and the study report, titled “Study of the possible effects on human health and the environment in Africa on the trade of products containing lead, cadmium and mercury” can be downloaded here
This study, which was possible thanks to the generous financial support of the Government of Sweden, fills some of the data and information gaps identified in the draft reviews of scientific information on lead and cadmium and for mercury information gaps identified elsewhere. In particular, it addresses the global flow of lead, cadmium and mercury in products by analyzing the trade, use and disposal of products containing lead, cadmium and mercury in Africa in order to assess how this trade can lead to adverse human and environmental effects. The study also includes case studies describing concrete examples of how some products containing lead, cadmium and mercury can have adverse effects on the human health and the environment in Africa, as well as examples of sound management of products containing these toxic metals.
The results of the study were presented on the morning of the 9th February 2009 in Geneva, Switzerland within the framework of the Informal Workshop on Stakeholders’ Information Needs on Chemicals in Articles/Products, which was also possible thanks to the generous financial contributions of the Nordic Council of Ministers.