Africa

Continent Coordinator

Background


In addition to the traditional environmental and public health issues of sanitation, water quality, and pest management, Africa faces various environmental stressors. Of the 900 million people living in 61 African countries, two-thirds live in rural areas and rely on agriculture and natural resources for sustenance. Africa is the world's largest consumer of biomass energy (firewood, agricultural residues, animal wastes, and charcoal), and deforestation, agricultural practices, and other factors cause a dramatic decline in biodiversity throughout the region. This, in turn, imposes an enormous strain on food safety and creates dependence on food sources potentially tainted with toxicants.

There also are concerns about the short- and long-term health impacts of the large volumes of industrial chemicals used in the growing petrochemical, agrochemical, textile, mining, and food preservation industries. Oil pollution is another important and controversial subject of discussion in Africa. Finally, the public health impacts of new pharmaceuticals (such as anti-retroviral drugs and new classes of anti-malarial drugs), and the growing problems of illicit drug dumping, are largely unknown.

The environmental challenges affecting African countries are not unique to the continent, but the strong interplay between pollution, poverty, and population growth yields an unacceptably high burden on public health. In addition, most African countries lack the resources needed to conduct human health risk assessments, undertake risk communication initiatives, and make sound environmental risk management decisions.

One of the major challenges for agencies working in Africa is the lack of data and information available to provide guidance on identifying, prioritizing, and addressing these issues. It is intended that Africa's presence in the World Library of Toxicology will help address these challenges by highlighting specific toxicological problems facing parts of the continent, and by disseminating information on activities, policies, and feasible risk management approaches that are in accordance with Africa's geopolitical and cultural divides.

Participating Countries


Regional Information


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