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A horizon scan to support chemical pollution-related policymaking for sustainable and climate-resilient economies

Green, Christopher, Bilyanska, Antoaneta, Bradley, Mags, Dinsdale, Jason, Hutt, Lorraine, Backhaus, Thomas, Boons, Frank, Bott, David, Collins, Chris, Cornell, Sarah E., Craig, Mark, Depledge, Michael, Diderich, Bob, Fuller, Richard, Galloway, Tamara S., Hutchison, Gary R., Ingrey, Nicola, Johnson, Andrew C., Kupka, Rachael, Matthiessen, Peter, Oliver, Robin, Owen, Stewart, Owens, Susan, Pickett, John ORCID:, Robinson, Sam, Sims, Kerry, Smith, Pete, Sumpter, John P., Tretsiakova?McNally, Svetlana, Wang, Mengjiao, Welton, Tom, Willis, Katherine J. and Lynch, Iseult 2023. A horizon scan to support chemical pollution-related policymaking for sustainable and climate-resilient economies. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 42 (6) , pp. 1212-1228. 10.1002/etc.5620

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Whilst chemicals are vital to modern society through materials, agriculture, textiles, new technology, medicines and consumer goods, their use is not without risks. Unfortunately, our resources seem inadequate to address the breadth of chemicals challenges to the environment and human health. Therefore, it is important we use our intelligence and knowledge wisely to prepare for what lies ahead. This study used a Delphi-style approach to horizon scan future chemical threats that need to be considered in the setting of chemicals and environmental policy, which involved a multi-disciplinary, multi-sectoral and multi-national panel of 25 scientists and practitioners (mainly from the UK, Europe and other industrialised nations) in a 3-stage process. 15 issues were shortlisted (from a nominated list of 48), considered by the panel to hold global relevance. The issues span from the need for new chemical manufacturing (including transitioning to non-fossil fuel feedstocks), challenges from novel materials, food imports, landfills and tyre wear, and opportunities from Artificial Intelligence, greater data transparency and the weight of evidence approach. The 15 issues can be divided into three classes; new perspectives on historic but insufficiently appreciated chemicals/issues; new or relatively new products and their associated industries, and thinking through approaches we can use to meet these challenges. Chemicals are one threat amongst many that influence the environment and human health, and interlinkages with wider issues such as climate change, and how we mitigate these, were clear in this exercise. The horizon scan highlights the value of thinking broadly and consulting widely, considering systems approaches to ensure that interventions appreciate synergies and avoid harmful trade-offs in other areas. We recommend further collaboration between researchers, industry, regulators and policy makers to perform horizon scanning to inform policy making and to develop our ability to meet these challenges, and especially to extend the approach to consider also concerns from countries with developing economies.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Chemistry
Cardiff Catalysis Institute (CCI)
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0730-7268
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 13 April 2023
Date of Acceptance: 26 March 2023
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2023 05:56

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