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Lead Levels in Paint Around the World
Lead in paint is a major source of lead exposure for children globally. Since 2009, more than 100 studies from 59 countries have shown that lead paints are still widely sold in low- and middle-income countries. IPEN-affiliated NGOs conducted the majority of these studies, comprising more than 4,000 solvent-based paints. Many of these paints contained very high levels of lead above 10,000 parts per million (ppm) of the dry weight of the paint.
Results from the most recent publicly available paint studies conducted since 2009 can be seen on the map on this page. To obtain country-specific data, click on the dot located in each country and a small box will appear that describes the results from that country’s most recent paint study. The darker the color of dot, the higher percentage of paints found to contain lead levels above either 90 ppm or 600 ppm, depending on the study. The Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint endorses a 90 ppm total lead content limit for all paint, but not all studies provide data below 600 ppm.
NOTE: Click the double-arrow in the upper left corner of the map below to expand or collapse the legend.
IPEN thanks the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) for their assistance in producing this map. The contents of the map are the sole responsibility of IPEN.
Lead is a toxic metal that causes adverse effects on both human health and the environment. While lead exposure is harmful to adults, it harms children at much lower levels, and the health effects are generally irreversible and can have a lifelong impact. The economic cost of childhood lead exposure in low- and middle-income countries is estimated at a total cumulative cost burden of $977 billion international dollars per year (source: NYU School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics). Though much has been accomplished in the last several years, the majority of the countries in the world still do not have lead paint laws.
For further information about the paint studies, conclusions and recommendations for further action, download IPEN's 2020 Global Lead Paint Elimination Report.
IPEN serves on the Advisory Group of the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint, which is working to have all countries enact laws to eliminate lead in paint by 2020. Learn more about the Lead Paint Alliance:
- United Nations Environment Programme, co-Secretariat
- World Health Organization (WHO), co-Secretariat
- WHO map of regulations and controls on lead paint
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Lead Paint Alliance Chair