Eliminating lead paint matters!

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By , June 25, 2020


Eliminating lead paint matters! | June 2020


In these challenging times, the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint continues to work on achieving the phase-out of the manufacture, sale and import of paints containing lead through the establishment of laws. This is a long-term goal to prevent the exposure of many future generations of children to lead in paint that would have been used in homes, schools and playgrounds in countries without lead paint laws in place to stop the addition of lead. As we rebuild and recover from the pandemic, eliminating lead paint is an achievable goal that will help protect public health. Your tireless efforts to help with this goal are much appreciated!

New opportunity for those working to address lead in paint! In collaboration with different stakeholders, the Secretariat of the Strategic Approach to Chemicals Management (SAICM) is launching a new Community of Practice (CoP) on Lead in Paint to bring representatives from different sectors together and to create a learning network around issues related to the elimination of Lead Paint. This COP will be used to support the substantial amount of work already being done in this area by a number of organisations.

The first session will be held on 9 July at 12 – 13:30 Greenwich Mean Time and will discuss “Steps toward adoption of national lead paint laws.” The SAICM Secretariat invites you to register to join the Community of Practice on Lead in Paint so that you can participate in online discussions facilitated by experts. By signing up, you will receive invitations to the upcoming discussions and their summary digests upon conclusion. Register here to join the Lead in Paint CoP.

In this newsletter, we are proud to share updates about global efforts to address lead paint, including new resources to support your national efforts; progress towards laws; updates from our advisors, and lead paint in the news. You can also learn more about how you can continue to take action to make a difference.

Wishing you all a safe world without added lead!

Global Efforts to Address Lead Paint

In our ongoing effort to support global actions to address lead paint, the Alliance has recently developed the following resources:

Lead paint law statusThe new Chemicals without Concern knowledge management platform aims to foster knowledge exchange on the SAICM emerging policy issues (EPIs) and their linkages with the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. Lead in Paint is highlighted as an area of work, and many resources on the adoption of legal limits on lead paint and awareness-raising can be found here. One of the new tools featured on the website is a new interactive map visualisation of the status of lead paint laws.

UNEP has posted an updated list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) providing answers to common questions, including about the Lead Paint Alliance, why lead is used in paint, alternatives to lead in paint, costs of reformulation and paint testing. In order to ensure that we have answered your questions, UNEP welcomes feedback on the FAQs via the email provided on the FAQ page by 3 July.

Progress Towards Laws

Momentum toward lead paint laws continues. We are proud to share these updates:

  • The Lead Paint Alliance provided comments on several draft lead paint laws since the last newsletter:  Ecuador’s draft standards during the public comment period in December 2019, Peru’s draft lead paint law in February 2020, and Mexico’s draft labelling standard during a public comment period from January to March 2020.

  • In April 2020, Colombia organized a second multi-stakeholders meeting to discuss the way forward regarding the adoption of a lead paint law.

  • In March and April 2020, Peru’s Lead Paint Working Group met and finalized a draft lead paint law, which is ready to be presented to the Congress.

  • China recently strengthened its national standards that reduce the lead limit for woodenware and architectural paints to 90 ppm total lead and lower the standard for vehicle and industrial protective coatings to 1000 ppm total lead as part of the SAICM GEF project lead in paint component, building on the work done by the Lead Paint Alliance.

CEE Industry Webinar

In March 2020, WHO and UNEP jointly organized two regional webinars for the paint industry in the UNEP Central and Eastern European region to address industry questions about reformulating paint, including about the need to set a low limit for lead in paint. The draft technical guidelines on paint reformulation prepared by the National Cleaner Production Center (NCPC) Serbia were presented. The session was well attended by approximately 30 participants, including representatives from government ministries and chemical safety agencies, the Eurasian Economic Commission, and paint producers within the region. Presentations and information on the webinar can be found here.

Lead Paint in the News

Pittsburgh-based PPG says it has met its 2016 pledge to eliminate lead from all products by 2020, reports the local NPR news station.

Advisory Council

The Alliance is pleased to share the following updates from our Advisory Council.

  • In Thailand, several action plans for lead in paint elimination have been advanced through health surveillance, research, and legislative measures. Activities include (1) establishment of national health surveillance for blood lead levels (BLL) among children under 5 years old; (2) research and development on state-of-the-art analytical techniques for BLL measurement in workers and people in the community; (3) manuals for health surveillance, prevention, and control of occupational and environmental diseases among children and workers; and (4) establishment of an industrial standard for lead in paint (100 ppm) for risk reduction and further lead elimination.
  • In November 2019, the East African Community (EAC, comprising Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan) adopted revised East African Standards on certain paints, varnishes and related products, setting the legal limit on lead content to a maximum of 90 ppm total lead. These standards will be adopted across the EAC region.

Partners Corner

As of June 2020, a total of 20 governments, 47 non-government organizations, 4 inter-governmental organizations, 7 academic organizations or institutions, and 22 industry or trade associations have joined as partners of the Lead Paint Alliance. A warm welcome and congratulations are extended to the new partners who have joined in the second half of 2020!

New members include:

  • Civil society: Chemicals Safety Agency (Ukraine), Gamarjoba (Georgia), Peshaf (Tajikistan), and the Foundation to Support Civil Initiatives (Tajikistan);
  • Industry: VES.SA (Romania);
  • Academia: University of Pennsylvania, Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology (United States).

What Can You Do? Take Action!

Suggested stepsThe Lead Paint Alliance is seeking good quality photographs connected to the elimination of lead paint for use in its publications, and readers are invited to submit suitable photographs to and If you are planning an event and will be taking photographs showing peoples’ faces, please note the need to obtain those peoples’ consent for their likeness to be published. This needs to be done at the time the picture is taken so must be planned for. The general requirements for providing photographs are as follows:

  • The copyright owner must give permission to WHO and UNEP to use the picture
  • Any person who is depicted in a photograph and who is recognisable must give informed consent to the use of their image in the form of a signed declaration of consent.
  • The depiction of children is especially sensitive and written consent for use of a child’s image must be given by the parent or legal guardian.
  • No payment will be provided for photographs but the photographer will be acknowledged in the publication in which the picture is used.

For further information together with template consent forms please send an email to