E. International action
The cost and specialized nature of the work involved in identifying, understanding and controlling health hazards related to building materials is such that international sharing of know-how is essential. The organizations and agencies of the United Nations System, with global mandates for health and development, play an important advocacy role by calling the attention of Member States to priority issues where joint action is urgently needed, through meetings of experts, publishing scientific and policy documents, holding global conferences and framing recommendations for action (81). Examples of such recent international initiatives include:
• The International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and WHO, as of 1994, have jointly published over 170 of Environmental Health Criteria (EHC) documents based on research by the International Programme on Chemical Safety. A good number of these documents deal with chemicals which are associated with building materials;
Future international action should focus on: facilitating the formulation of housing policies sensitive to health needs; stimulating and supporting, international, regional and national co-operation and action, e.g. in the harmonization of international standards and legislation with regard to the manufacture and use of building materials, in the application of relevant protocols and newly developed standards; and in stimulating and supporting national research, education and training initiatives, through the exchange of information by organizing regional and international meetings and the dissemination of information through published material.
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