International Programme on Chemical Safety

Guidelines on the prevention of toxic exposures

A large number of people are injured or die each year as a result of exposure to both manufactured chemicals and natural toxins. Most poisoning cases result from lack of knowledge about risks and from carelessness. Furthermore, misuse of chemicals frequently leads to damage of the environment. This is avoidable through education and information.

National programmes for prevention of poisonings are crucial to reduce the number of poisonings in the home or at work, to detect and eliminate unusually hazardous commercial products and to limit the overuse of emergency systems.

These guidelines will help governments, national agencies and communities to plan, carry out and evaluate education campaigns addressed at the public as well as other activities to promote safe use of chemicals and prevention of poisoning. They summarize the active and passive strategies that can be used to promote chemical safety, outline the planning process and describe how to communicate safety and poisons prevention messages effectively.

Prevention is the best antidote.