Illegal Trade in Chemicals

01 April 2020

UNEP Exposes Fight Against Illegal Trade in Pesticides, Mercury

This novel publication provides an overview of the knowledge gap and enforcement challenges in the illegal trade of toxic, hazardous and severely restricted chemicals, as well as in non-existing or low areas of chemical regulations.

Chemicals surround us in our daily lives providing benefit to people and society. However, chemicals can contaminate all components of ecosystems and  are implicated in a range of acute and chronic health problems- with greater risks to vulnerable groups. Though a range of guidelines now govern the trade in chemicals, many remain unregulated or face significant enforcement and implementation issues. The potential and real economic, social and environmental costs of the illegal trade in chemicals are far from trivial, and legitimate businesses, national economies, and human health and the environment are suffering the effects.

Through analyzing the governance and markets of the illegal chemicals and waste trade, this report illuminates failures and best practices of its enforcement.The findings of this report inform a set of considerations for policymakers and competent authorities at the national, regional and international levels of engagement, and for communities and users of these chemicals and related products. 

This report was prepared by UNEP and GRID-Arendal in partnership with IPEN, CIEL, INTERPOL, SAICM, Container Control Programme, and Hej!Support.