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A Toxics-Free Future


Six-point plan for G7 Action on Global Lead Poisoning

Efforts by the G7 countries can support and promote lead poisoning prevention in low and middle-income countries (LMICs), including preventing childhood lead exposure. The organizations listed below call on all G7 member countries to strengthen domestic regulatory frameworks and support lead poisoning prevention efforts through the following actions:

  1. Eliminate all uses of lead in paints and plastics in all G7 countries;
  2. Submit notifications that nominate lead chromates for listing in Annex III of the Rotterdam Convention;
  3. Strengthen regulations to further reduce lead emission limits and ambient air standards to meet the most stringent in effect within G7 countries;
  4. Update and effectively enforce occupational health protections for workers exposed to lead in G7 countries;
  5. Regulate G7 exports of used lead batteries and lead scrap to ensure that these materials are only sent to facilities in other countries that effectively enforce the most stringent lead emission limits and ambient air standards in effect within G7 countries;
  6. Provide increased financial support for lead poisoning prevention in LMICs and support international policies that promote these efforts in all countries.


1. Although G7 countries have restricted the use of lead in specific applications and/or have regulated specific lead compounds allowed in paint products, none have eliminated all uses of lead paint as called for in 2009 under the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM). The term “paint” includes all varnishes, lacquers, stains, enamels, glazes, primers or coatings used for any purpose. Lead paints are still commonly allowed for “industrial” coatings that are not intended for residential applications. Such coatings contribute to environmental contamination and occupational lead exposures. Lead from both of these sources are often brought into the home environment and contribute to childhood lead poisoning. One common excuse that LMIC governments provide for not regulating lead in paints, and companies use for refusing to reformulate lead-containing paint products, is that such products are not regulated in G7 countries. Eliminating all lead paint in domestic applications will provide a model for all countries and stop companies based in G7 countries from selling these products abroad.

In addition, no G7 country has eliminated the use of lead in plastics. A significant portion of hazardous lead pigments including lead chromate and lead oxides are used in plastic production. These materials will release lead into the environment when this material is burned, processed for reuse/”recycling” or through eventual degradation.

2. Furthermore, even LMICs that have banned use of lead in paint faces difficulties in enforcing those regulations. Listing lead chromates in Annex III of the Rotterdam Convention would introduce requirements of Prior Informed Consent, meaning that LMICs would have much better control over what comes in over their borders. As the EU has already banned lead chromate, G7 countries should therefore immediately submit notifications, as per their obligation under the Convention, to the Rotterdam Secretariat and further support its listing in 2025 throughout the review process.

3. Industrial emissions are a significant source of airborne lead and contribute to soil and dust contamination in G7 countries. Most regulations on stack emissions and ambient air standards for lead are outdated and do not account for the serious health consequences of low-level lead exposures which are responsible for almost 1,000,000 deaths a year. Even among G7 countries, there are significant gaps in these regulatory limits that should be revised on a regular basis to provide an even playing field by updating national standards to align with the most stringent.

4. In G7 countries occupational lead standards governing airborne lead in the workplace, medical removal protections and other responses to employee blood lead levels that date back to the 1970s (or earlier) are not health protective. None of the existing occupational standards in G7 countries protect workers from the known cardiovascular risk or reproductive hazards from lead exposure.

5. All G7 countries allow for the export of lead scrap for recycling abroad often in countries with weaker or no industry-specific lead emission standards and few resources for regulatory enforcement. In addition, the U.S. and Canada export millions of metric tons of used lead batteries to Mexico and other countries for recycling. Lead battery recycling plants in all countries are significant sources of airborne lead emissions, employee exposure and environmental contamination. G7 countries should commit to either banning such exports or develop a system for ensuring conformity with all environmental laws, regulations and practices at facilities accepting their exports of used lead batteries and lead scrap.

6. Given the ubiquity of lead in products and in the environment, and the well-documented global health impacts and economic costs of lead exposures, investments in lead poisoning prevention including the surveillance, control, and regulation of lead in LMICs are severely underfunded by G7 aid and environmental agencies. G7 countries should commit to increasing funding for lead poisoning prevention in LMICs to a minimum of $100,000,000 USD per year which is a small fraction of the more than $4.6 Billion dollars that G7 countries allocate annually to global health programs.

List of Organizations that have Endorsed the Above Plan:

IPEN (Sweden)

Occupational Knowledge International (USA)

A Community Voice (USA)

AIDA- Asociación Interamericana para la Defensa del Ambiente (Regional)

Ako Foundation (Ghana)

APEDDUB (Tunisia)

Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment (Armenia)

Arulagam (India)

Asociación Colnodo (Colombia)

Association Jeunesse pour l'Environnement et le Développement Durable (Burkina Faso) 

Bio Vision Africa (BiVA) (Uganda)

CADME (Coastal Area Disaster Mitigation Efforts) (India)

CARPIN (Jamaica)

Casa Cem- Vias verdes AC (México) 

Center for Public Health and Environmental Development (CEPHED) (Nepal)

Centre De Recherche Et D'education Pour Le Developement (CREPD) (Cameroon)

Centre for Environmental Justice (Guarantee) Ltd. (CEJ) (Sri Lanka)

CGFED (Vietnam)

ChemSec (Sweden)

Children's Environmental Health Foundation (CEHF) (Zambia)

Collegium Ramazzini (Italy)

Community Action Against Plastic Waste (CAPws) (Nigeria) 

Development Indian Ocean Network (DION) (Mauritius)

Earthjustice (USA)

ECOCITY (Greece)

Ecological Alert and Recovery - Thailand (EARTH) (Thailand)

EcoWaste Coalition (Philippines)

Environment and Social Development Organization (Bangladesh)

Foundation to support civil organization (FSCI, Dastgiri-Center) (Tajikistan)


Hamraah Foundation (India)

Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability, Inc. (Philippines)

Irrigation Training and Economic Empowerment Organization – IRTECO (Tanzania)

Land and Human to Advocate Progress (LHAP) (Jordan)

Lead Exposure and Poisoning Prevention Alliance (UK)

LockUpLead (USA)

Lok kalyan seva kendra (India)

Mundo Químico (Mexico)

National Center for Healthy Housing (USA)

NEER Foundation (India)

NeighborWorks Community Partners (USA)

Networking for Society development Organization (NESODO) (Tanzania)

Nexus3 Foundation  (Indonesia)

NGO "Gamarjoba" (Georgia)

NGO Shipbreaking Platform (Belgium)

Niagara County Department of Health  (USA)

One Source Environmental, LLC (USA)

Orissa State Volunteers and Social Workers Association (India)

ONG La Grande Puissance De Dieu (Benin)

Program for Global Public Health and the Common Good at Boston College (USA)

Reacción Climática (Bolivia)

Scottish Hazards (Scotland)

Silver Valley Community Resource Center (USA)

Society for Sustainable Development (India)

Sustainable Environment Development Initiative  (Nigeria) 

Sustainable Research and Action for Environmental Development (Nigeria )

Taller Ecologista (Argentina)

Taiwan Watch Institute (Taiwan)

Toxics Link (India)

ToxicsWatch  (Italy)

TOXISPHERA Environmental Health Association (Brazil)

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