The chemicals industry is an important part of the world economy. With an estimated 1,500 billion US dollars in sales in 1998, it accounts for 7% of global income and 9% of global trade, and employs more than 10 million people worldwide.
Chemicals produced by the chemicals industry are present in countless consumer products from pesticides and automobiles to toys and clothing. But there are also possible risks from exposure to chemical production and use. While the chemicals industry has made progress in reducing its overall environmental impact, chemicals can still have a negative impact on human health and the environment.
The OECD Environmental Outlook for the Chemicals Industry gives an outlook to 2020 for production, use and consumption of chemicals in OECD countries and elsewhere, as well as their impact on the environment. It identifies key chemical safety issues for the future and policy options to address them, notably greater responsibility for industry in providing and assessing data, and more involvement of workers and the public in monitoring and contributing to discussions on chemical safety management.
©OECD Observer No 226/227, Summer 2001