OSLO - Increasing misuse of chemicals is causing health and environmental damage especially in emerging economies and governments must do more to carry out a promised clean-up by 2020, a United Nations report said on Wednesday.

Production and use of chemicals - from plastics to pesticides - is shifting to developing nations where safeguards are often weaker, the UN Environment Program (UNEP) said. Unsafe disposal and recycling adds to risks, it said.

Poisonings from industrial and agricultural chemicals are among the top five leading causes of death worldwide, contributing to more than a million deaths every year, UNEP said in a statement of its Global Chemicals Outlook.

"The gains that chemicals can provide must not come at the expense of human health and the environment," Achim Steiner, head of UNEP, said of its first assessment of chemicals.

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