We live in a chemical world, a world of humans extracted or produced substances. Chemicals can be found in our food and their containers, in the air we breathe, the water we drink or with which we bathe, in the clothes and cosmetics we use, in the cleaning products of our home and office, in the products that we use in our work, in the industry, in the fields, in mining, in fishing, etc.
When these chemicals pollute the air, water, soil, natural and processed foods, clothing, cosmetics, household products, and urban and work environments, they generate exposures that people are often not aware of or cannot control. Exposure to chemicals can exceed people's ability to metabolize them and thus produce adverse effects on their health, from acute poisoning to chronic diseases.
In Mexico, there are studies that show such effects on children, workers, pregnant women and marginalized and poor populations. The possibility of exposure and damage is not the same among these groups; the most affected ones are those who live in conditions of marginalization and poverty or with less access to basic services, health services, and knowledge, as is usually the case with indigenous people.
Currently, we confront a lag in chemical risk management. We lack an explicit and coherent policy between different sectors and institutions, or a complete legal framework. It is urgent to advance consistently with initiatives and a comprehensive national policy.
The General Health Council, a constitutionally mandated body (Article 73, XVI, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and especially the 4th), has convened various institutions. As a next step, it is organizing a high-level technical meeting to learn about the situation of chemical exposures, its effects, how public and private institutions are managing the risks, which is the perspective of the social sector, and what practices are being exercised internationally for their proper management. The aim is to examine the alternatives to develop the National Strategy for the Protection of the Population of Environment Chemicals, in order to guarantee the right to health and a clean environment for all Mexicans
Therefore, the event "Living in a Chemical World: Towards a Comprehensive Chemical Management Policy" has been organized; national and international expert leaders in the field will participate in it to generate a dialogue in the technical, social, political, and executive issues with the following objectives.
• Clarify and unify the conceptual base, increase social interest, offer decision makers methodological elements for their action, and identify actions in the short, medium, and long term.
• Generate a change in the proper management of chemicals in Mexico, in the protection of the population’s health and the integrity of the environment, promoting a culture in the field, and a sustainable industry.
• Establish a development agenda on chemicals risk protection, feasible to be implement in the next two years in Mexico.