Heavy Metals: Eliminate Lead Paint Campaign:
Children's health first: Eliminate lead paint
Lead in Paint Global Partnership - an NGO Initiative:
IPEN, working with NGOs across the globe, has initiated a campaign to put Children's Health First and Eliminate Lead Paint. Unfortunately, lead in paint is an old toxic threat to young children today.
In 2002, the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) took two vital decisions to protect children's health from exposure to lead. The first called for the phase out of lead in gasoline, and the second, the phase out of lead in lead-based paints and in other sources of human exposure. This paved the way for an IPEN participating organization from India, Toxics Link, to form a partnership to promote the global phase-out of lead in paints. This partnership proposed a global phase-out at the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM2) in May 2009, where it was endorsed. From there, the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) Global Partnership to Eliminate Lead in Paint was created.
Eliminating Lead Paint - Global Partnership:
In May 2009, the International Conference on Chemical Management (ICCM2) endorsed a proposal from an IPEN participating organization from India, Toxics Link, to form a partnership to promote the global phase-out of lead in paints. To our knowledge, this is the first time a NGO proposal has been adopted for global action by governments and all stakeholders in an UN process on chemicals. Furthermore, the proposal was endorsed by the G8 in April and by the industry itself, via the International Paint and Printing Ink Council in May 2009.
Eliminating Lead in Paint
Lead is a heavy metal with known impacts on health, especially on children's health. Unfortunately, even though there is wide recognition of this problem, which led to a number of bans of lead in paint across North America and Western Europe over the past 70 years, even today paints are sold with added lead in developing countries and countries with economies in transition. This is an avoidable problem, and one with well known and tested safer commercial substitutes.
To investigate the problem globally, IPEN partnered with the Indian NGO Toxics Link in 2008 to test paint for lead in local markets in countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. The results confirmed that lead in paint is still being produced and sold, exposing children and communities to this toxic substance.
In parallel, the international community has taken action to build on this NGO initiative. IPEN proposed a Global Partnership to eliminate lead from paint to Forum VI of the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (IFCS) in September 2008. IFCS, through a resolution passed at Forum VI, endorsed this NGO initiative. In May 2009, the International Conference on Chemicals Management also endorsed the Global Partnership to promote the global phase-out of lead in paints. During this process, governments, the private sector, health groups, and other international agencies joined IPEN and Toxics Link to endorse and confirm the need for a Global Partnership.
Global and National Sampling Project:
In 2008 IPEN partnered with the Indian organization Toxics Link , to conduct global sampling of lead in paint with organisations in developing countries and countries with economies in transition. Ten countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America were involved. The study showed that, with a few exceptions, all plastic paint samples had low lead concentrations, and the majority of enamel paint samples had lead concentrations higher than regulatory levels of 90ppm (US, China) or 600ppm (Singapore). Lead concentrations in paints ranged from 0.6 ppm to 505,716 ppm.
Alternatives to lead in paints do exist and cleaner substitutes for lead based pigments, such as titanium dioxide, have been in use for some time now. Yet, there is still a general lack of awareness on the issue of lead and an absence of mandatory standards for lead in paints.
To view the sampling results for each of the 10 countries click on this link.
National Campaigns and Activities:
NGOs who participated in the 2008-2009 Global Sampling project have since begun national efforts to eliminate lead in paint. Moreover, NGOs in countries outside the initial 10 have also begun efforts to raise awareness and eliminate lead in paint nationally.
Factsheets and Online Resources:
Occupational Knowledge International
OK International is a nonprofit organisation dedicated to improving public health by reducing exposures to industrial pollutants. OKI provides a wide rage of factsheets, informational resources and links related to lead.
They include Adobe .pdf fact sheets:
Childhood Lead Exposures:
Steps to Protect your Child from Lead [Chinese]
Occupational Lead Exposure:
Preventing Lead Exposure at Work [Tamil]
Medical Guidelines for Lead Exposure [English]
The Lead Group Inc.
The Lead Education and Abatement Design Group (LEAD) is a not-for-profit community organisation which develops and provides information and referrals on lead poisoning and lead contamination prevention and management The Lead Group Inc.
Global Lead Advice & Support Service (GLASS) run by The LEAD Group Inc. has produced over 50 fact sheets on recognising and managing lead Global Lead Advice & Support Service (GLASS)
Fact sheets include:
Healthy Environments for Children Alliance (HECA)
HECA is an initiative of the World Health Organisation.
HECA Lead Fact Sheet
World Health Organization
WHO Water-related Diseases, Lead poisoning Fact Sheet
Lead poisoning Fact Sheet
American Public Health Association APHA
Call for a Global Ban on Lead Use in Residential Indoor and Outdoor Paints, Children's Products, and All Nonessential Uses in Consumer Products; Policy Date: 10/28/2008? Policy Number: 20084
Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (IFCS)
IPEN-Toxics Link submission to IFCS
IFCS Forum VI Dakar Declaration noting Action on Lead in Paint
IFCS Dakar resolution for eliminating lead from paint
Information about the IFCS Working Group Global Partnership to Phase Out Use of Lead in Paints, official documents and statements of support.
Strategic Approach to International Chemical Management (SAICM) and the International Conference on Chemical Management (ICCM2)
Background information in relation to the emerging policy issue of lead in paint, note by the Secretariat
ICCM2 SAICM Emerging Issues information on Lead in Paint
ICCM2 Draft Resolution by Emerging Issues Contact Group Endorsing the Global Partnership to promote phasing out the use of lead in paints
ICCM2 Final resolution
Report of the International Conference on Chemicals Management on the work of its second session: Lead in Paint, SAICM, 29 May 2009
International Paint and Printing Ink Council Letter endorsing the Global Partnership .pdf 202KB