Policy Brief | Regulation of hazardous chemicals

Regulation of hazardous chemicals in plastic products is urgently needed in Kenya

Chemicals in products have continued to expose humans and the environment to their negative impacts. Evidence from analysis of recycled plastic products sampled from markets in Kenya and other parts of the world has revealed high levels of POPs in recycled products including children’s toys. This is exacerbated by weaknesses in the legal frameworks, the limited capacity of countries to screen imports for Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and lack of transparency and traceability mechanisms for chemicals in products. To reduce exposure to these chemicals in Kenya, there is need to regulate the use of plastic products treated with chemicals and set stringent limits for POPs in products and wastes. Furthermore, there is need to strengthen the capacity to manage chemicals in products including capacity for screen of imports. Lastly, the government should take lead in pushing for adequate measures to eliminate toxics in plastics in the ongoing plastic treaty negotiations to support non- toxic circular economy. This policy brief is intended for policy and decision makers in the national and county governments, particularly in the ministries of health, environment, labor and trade, as well as regulatory agencies such as the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) and the Kenya Bureau of Standards.