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A Toxics-Free Future


Lead Paint Background

Download Eliminate Lead Paint: Protect Children’s Health

Health Effects

Evidence of reduced intelligence caused by childhood exposure to lead has led the World Health Organization (WHO) to list “lead caused mental retardation” as a recognized disease. WHO also lists it as one of the top ten diseases whose health burden among children is due to modifiable environmental factors and has called on countries to strengthen national actions to eliminate lead. In recent years, medical researchers documented significant health impacts in children from lower and lower lead exposures. In response, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other authorities have concluded that there is no known acceptable lead exposure level for children. Learn more

Economic Impact

A recent study that investigated the economic impact of childhood lead exposure on national economies in all low and middle income countries estimated a total cumulative cost burden of $977 billion international dollars per year. Learn more

Sources of Lead in Paint

Paints contain lead when the paint manufacturer intentionally adds one or more lead compounds to the paint for some purpose. A paint product may also contain some amount of lead when paint ingredients that are contaminated with lead are used or when there is cross contamination from other product lines in the same factory. Learn more

Alternatives to Lead in Paint

Non-leaded pigments, driers and anti-corrosive agents have been widely available for decades and are used by manufacturers producing the highest quality paints. In most cases, by avoiding the use of lead pigments, lead driers and other intentionally added lead compounds, a paint manufacturer will produce paints that have lead content well below 90 ppm and that can be sold in any country in the world. Learn more

Framework for Eliminating Lead Paint

Analytical data from paint studies show that in countries where no national law,  binding regulation, or other legal instrument specifically forbids it, some or most of the brands of enamel decorative paints for sale on the national market contain high levels of lead. National laws, binding regulations, or other legal instruments are a key tool for controlling the lead content of paints. Learn more

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