An official website of the United States government.

We've made some changes to EPA.gov. If the information you are looking for is not here, you may be able to find it on the EPA Web Archive or the January 19, 2017 Web Snapshot.

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 and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are the current co-chairs 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:

Click the tabs below to learn more.

EPA was part of a panel of Lead Paint Alliance partners to provide a briefing on the Lead Paint Alliance to Permanent Missions in Geneva on June 12, 2018.

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 and included EPA representatives from OITA and OCSPP.  The workshop provided the first opportunity to present the Lead Paint Alliance's new model law in a country currently without a strong lead paint law.  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 can be customized to address country-specific legal frameworks. The Model Law provides a template for laws that are clear, readily implemented and enforceable.  It promotes eliminating lead from all paints and establishing a lead concentration limit of 90 ppm.  It is supported by a broad coalition of governments, industry, and environmental groups. 

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

December 2016: The Lead Paint Alliance held a Workshop on the Development of National and Regional Regulations and Standards on Lead in Paints in the Central and West African Region in Yaounde, Cameroon on December 8-9, 2016. The workshop was organized by Alliance partner IPEN and co-sponsored by EPA and the United Nations Environment Program. Attendees included government and environmental NGO representatives from Central and West African countries.  EPA presented information about how to establish effective lead paint laws.  

October 2016: The 4th annual International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action took place from October 23-29, 2016.  EPA joined the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and other organizations around the world to promote banning lead paint by 2020 and to raise awareness of the activities of the Lead Paint Alliance. This year’s Week of Action had the most participation ever, with 42 countries reporting more than 100 activities.  UNEP, WHO, EPA and IPEN worked collaboratively to develop the program's campaign package, including customizable materials in six UN languages. As part of the Week of Action, EPA coordinated an impactful social media campaign. 

September 2016: EPA sponsored the Lead Paint Alliance Workshop for the East African Community on the Development of National and Regional Regulations on Lead in Paint, which took place in Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania. The workshop was organized as a follow-up to the December 2015 East Africa Sub-regional Workshop on the Establishment of Legal Limits on Lead in Paint in Ethiopia (details below). Experts, stakeholders and key governmental officials from the East African Community and select other African countries came together to discuss next steps toward the regional harmonization of a lead paint standard for the East African community. 

National representatives discuss establishing legal limits on lead paint at the December African sub-regional workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

December 2015: The East Africa Sub-regional Workshop on the Establishment of Legal Limits on Lead in Paint Exittook place at the United Nations Conference Centre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The workshop was organized to take place just before the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)/IPEN Regional Lead Paint Elimination Project in Africa Workshop.  At the workshop, government officials and stakeholders from 15 African countries agreed on the need to phase out the use of lead in paint and harmonize standards across Africa. 

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 overall goal of the partnership is to prevent children’s exposure to lead via paints containing lead and to minimize occupational exposures to lead in paint.
  • The broad objective is to phase out the manufacture and sale of paints containing lead and eventually to eliminate the risks from such 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