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International Cooperation

EPA Leadership in the Lead Paint Alliance

Paint cans with messages that show lead paint can cause lowered IQ, behavioral disorders, and other harm.

The Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint ("Lead Paint Alliance" or "the Alliance") is a voluntary collaborative partnership of governments, private industry, and NGOs that works to promote the phase-out of the use of lead in paint. The Lead Paint Alliance was established in 2011 and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) serve as the joint secretariat. U.S. EPA is currently the chair of the Lead Paint Alliance.

The main objective of the Alliance is to prevent children’s exposure to lead via paints containing lead, particularly those in countries where lead paint is still manufactured and is commonly used. The goal of the Lead Paint Alliance is to promote the establishment of lead paint laws globally.  The U.S. banned lead in paint in the 1970s and is providing technical and policy expertise to developing countries to put in place lead paint laws.  Governments, private industries, and NGOs can support this goal by becoming a partner of the Lead Paint Alliance.

Resources:

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photo of all attendees at Tblisi regional workshopEPA participated in a Department of Commerce-sponsored Sub-Regional Workshop on Lead Paint Elimination in Central Asia and Eastern Europe in Tbilisi, Georgia on September 11-12, 2019. October 2019: The 7th annual International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action will take place October 20 -26, 2019.  EPA will join the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and other organizations around the world to promote banning lead paint and to raise awareness of the activities of the Lead Paint Alliance.  

September 2019:  EPA participated in a Department of Commerce-sponsored Lead Paint Elimination Workshop for the Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asian Region in Tbilisi, Georgia on September 11-12, 2019.  The workshop sought to assist target countries in this region in developing national and regional laws on lead paint.  The workshop was attended by the UN Environment Program, the World Health Organization and the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative, as well as NGOs from several countries in the region. In the workshop, participating governments (Georgia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan) demonstrated that they have begun to develop national and regional approaches to eliminating lead paint through the establishment of laws and regulations.  

March - August 2019:  EPA participated in four regional lead paint workshops organized by UN Environment as part of the Lead in Paint component of the SAICM Global Environment Facility (GEF) project ExitGlobal best practices on emerging chemical policy issues of concern under the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM).”  The workshops were attended by country representatives in each region, as well as Lead Paint Alliance partners EPA, the World Health Organization, the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA-ROLI), environmental NGOs and industry representatives.  Follow up to the workshops includes identification of steps in each country to establish lead paint laws.  For information about each workshop, see below:

  • Asia Pacific Regional Lead Paint Workshop in Bangkok, Thailand, August 21-22: In addition to Lead Paint Alliance Partners listed above, this workshop was attended by representatives from health and environment ministries of 9 governments in the region and NGOs from Asia and the Middle East, and paint industry associations from Malaysia and the Philippines.   
  • Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Workshop on Lead Paint in Panama City, Panama, June 12-13, 2019:  In addition to Lead Paint Alliance Partners listed above, this workshop was attended by representatives from 15 governments in the region and by representatives from the US State Department, NGOs, industry organizations in the region.
  • Africa Regional Workshop on Lead Paint in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, May 28-29, 2019:  In addition to Lead Paint Alliance Partners listed above , this workshop was attended by representatives from 20 African governments, the US State Department, 10 NGO and industry organizations.
  • Central and Eastern Europe Regional Workshop in Lead Paint in Almaty, Kazakhstan, March 19-20, 2019:  In addition to Lead Paint Alliance Partners listed above, this workshop was attended by representatives from 12 governments in the region, NGOs and industry.

Meeting reports and presentations from each workshop Exitare available on the  website of the SAICM GEF project. 

October 2018: The 6th annual International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action took place October 21 -27, 2018.  EPA joined the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and other organizations around the world to promote banning lead paint and to raise awareness of the activities of the Lead Paint Alliance.  

June 2018: EPA participated in a UN Environment Briefing of Foreign Government Permanent Missions in Geneva on the Lead Paint Alliance on June 12, 2018.  23 countries attended the briefing, which included a panel of industry, NGO and EPA representatives.

December  2017: Environment ministers from around the world signaled support of lead paint laws by passing a lead paint resolution  at the Third United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-3).  The resolution emphasizes the importance of reducing exposure to lead, and encourages countries to adopt and implement lead paint laws and invites governments and other stakeholders to become a partner of the Lead Paint Alliance. 

EPA participated in the Caribbean Workshop on the Establishment of Legal Limits on Lead in Paint, which had 38 attendees, representing more than 20 organizations and agencies from the public, private, and civil sectors.

December 2017:  As part of ongoing efforts through the Lead Paint Alliance, EPA participated in a UNEP-sponsored Caribbean Workshop on Establishing Lead Paint Laws hosted by the University of West Indies Norman Manley Law School in Kingston, Jamaica. The workshop was hosted by the United Nations Environment Program Regional Office of Latin America and the Caribbean. All in attendance agreed that mandatory legal limits on lead paint were important to protecting people and agreed to considering the model law to fit their legal framework, and also volunteered to be leaders on this issue in the Caribbean region.


November 2017:  UN Environment developed the Model Law and Guidance for Regulating Lead Paint (Model Law), in collaboration with EPA, WHO and the Alliance Advisory Council.  It provides a template for lead paint laws that are clear, readily implemented enforceable, and can be customized to address country-specific legal frameworks. Supported by a broad coalition of governments, industry and environmental groups, it promotes eliminating lead from all paints and establishing a lead concentration limit of 90 ppm.  

October 2017: The 5th annual International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action took place from October 22-28, 2017.  EPA joined the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and other organizations around the world to promote banning lead paint and to raise awareness of the activities of the Lead Paint Alliance. 

August 2017:  The American Bar Association passed a resolution to promote lead paint laws globally, urging its members to support adoption and implementation of laws to phase out and eliminate lead paint through pro bono support, educational initiatives, and other appropriate means.

May 2017:  At the 40th World Health Assembly, health ministers approved action on lead paint in a Chemicals RoadmapExit

Learn more:

Children at an event in Philippines for the International Lead Poisioining Prevention Week of Action. (October 2013)

Lead exposure is a well-known source of injury to human health, particularly to the health of children and to workers in lead industries. No level of exposure to lead is considered safe. Children exposed to high levels of lead may experience sensory, motor, cognitive and behavioral impacts, including learning disabilities; attention deficits; disorders in coordination, visual, spatial and language skills; and anemia.

Using leaded paint creates potential lead poisoning problems for the future. Most poisoning from lead paint occurs when infants and children ingest the dust of old lead paint as it deteriorates of chips off surfaces. Thus, lead paint poses a health risk long after the initial painting is done. That is why we want to work together to make sure that no paints contain lead.

Alternatives to lead paint already exist. Although lead paint is still produced and sold in many countries around the world, a simple, cost-effective alternative exists. Paints without added lead are as effective and economically competitive as their lead counterparts. In fact, a nine-country study published by UNEP and the NGO IPEN  Exitshowed that in many places where lead paint is sold, lead free alternatives exist for similar prices. Recent paint testing (52 pp, 3M, About PDF)Exitalso shows that paints with low levels of lead are available in developing countries.

About the Lead Paint Alliance

The U.S. EPA is an active member, and Advisory Group Chair, of the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint Exit. The Lead Paint Alliance is a global partnership of Governments, private industry, and NGOs that works to promote the phase-out of the use of lead in paint.

The work of the Lead Paint Alliance includes raising awareness of the dangers lead poisoning poses to human health; and helping developing countries build regulations to stop the manufacture, import, sale and use of paints containing lead.

The Lead Paint Alliance is promoting the establishment of lead paint laws globally partially through the Lead in Paint component of the SAICM Global Environment Facility (GEF) project Exit“Global best practices on emerging chemical policy issues of concern under the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM)."  This project is working with governments to help establish laws and with industry to help promote reformulation of lead paint.

As Chair of the Lead Paint Alliance Advisory Group, U.S. EPA is working to help make other nations aware of the dangers of lead paint and ways to address this problem. The Global Alliance is focusing its efforts on helping countries without existing lead paint laws put effective legislation/regulations in place.

The Alliance is a led by a joint secretariat of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Health Organization (WHO). It was established at the International Conference on Chemicals Management at its second session (ICCM2) as one initiative to implement the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM). Exit

This initiative promotes the implementation of paragraph 57 of the Plan of Implementation of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (PDF) Exit, which states: to phase out lead in lead-based paint and in other sources of human exposure, work to prevent, in particular, childrens exposure to lead and strengthen monitoring and surveillance efforts and the treatment of lead poisoning.


For additional information on EPA's work with the Lead Paint Alliance, contact:
Angela Bandemehr
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of International and Tribal Affairs (2670R)
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20460
E-mail: bandemehr.angela@epa.gov
(202) 564-1427