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You are here: Home / Signals — well-being and the environment / Signals 2011 / Earth 2050 global megatrends / Pollution — increasing use of chemicals

Pollution — increasing use of chemicals

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Presently, most chemicals are produced by so called 'developed countries' but production is increasing more than twice as fast in India, China, Brazil, South Africa and Indonesia. Their economic share of total world chemical production is projected to rise to around 30 % by 2020 and almost 40 % by 2030.

Why is this increasing use of chemicals important for you?

The potential consequences of global pollution trends include further impacts on human health and ecosystems. For Europe, unsafe drinking and bathing water and contaminated food, from both European products and imports, pose immediate risks. Risks may also be connected to the increasing import of intermediate and final industrial chemical products. In Europe, the problem of reactive nitrogen is particularly evident in the Baltic Sea, where the current ecological status is already poor.

Graph 5: Production of chemicals

An estimated 70 000 to 100 000 chemical substances are produced in high volumes, over one million tonnes a year. OECD countries are the biggest producers of chemicals but production is increasing more than twice as fast in India, China, Brazil, South Africa and Indonesia.

For more information see: Global megatrends: increasing environmental pollution load,

Production of chemicals

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