New Science for Chemicals Policy

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Science  20 Nov 2009:
Vol. 326, Issue 5956, pp. 1065-1066
DOI: 10.1126/science.1177537

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Over the last century, industrial chemicals have become ubiquitous in materials, products, and manufacturing processes used throughout society. In 2006, more than 34 million metric tons of chemical substances were produced in, or imported into, the United States every day (1). Over the next quarter-century, global chemical production is projected to double, rapidly outpacing the rate of population growth (2). These substances ultimately enter Earth's environment; hundreds of chemicals are routinely detected in people and ecosystems worldwide (3, 4). Long-standing public policies governing chemical design, production, and use need deep restructuring in light of new science on the health and environmental effects of anthropogenic chemicals. Such reforms are essential to safeguard ecosystem integrity, human health, and economic sustainability.