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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 the Chair of the Lead Paint Alliance.

The goal 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 main objective 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.

U.S. EPA supports the goal of the Alliance by providing expertise and leadership in the development of programs, reports, tools to establish laws, and awareness raising efforts, such as those noted below under “Resources from the Lead Paint Alliance.”  

Resources from the Lead Paint Alliance

The following links exit the site Exit

Lead Paint Alliance

Recent Programs

Tools to Establish Laws on Lead in Paint

Tracking Status of Laws, Paints and Impacts

Awareness and Advocacy

Key Milestones

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. 

February 2021: EPA facilitated the development of the most recent Alliance newsletterExit 

December 2020: EPA spearheaded the drafting and design of UNEP’s Global Status Update of Legal Limits on Lead in PaintExit

October-November 2020: EPA moderated the UNEP webinar for policymakers Exiton October 5, 2020, and led the development of the agenda and content of the UNEP webinar for industryExit on November 19, 2020.

October 2020: The 8th annual International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action took place October 25 -31, 2020.  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. Ninety organizations (including 6 academic institutions, 19 governments (local/national), 4 healthcare institutions, 3 industry representatives and 42 non-state actors ) from 53 countries registered for the campaign.  

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.  

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).”    

  • Asia Pacific Regional Lead Paint Workshop in Bangkok, Thailand, August 21-22
  • Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Workshop on Lead Paint in Panama City, Panama, June 12-13, 2019
  • Africa Regional Workshop on Lead Paint in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, May 28-29, 2019
  • Central and Eastern Europe Regional Workshop in Lead Paint in Almaty, Kazakhstan, March 19-20, 2019

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.  

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

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).  

December 2017: 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.

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.

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

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About Lead Paint

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. Additionally, work to conduct pilot demonstrations of paint reformulation Exitin small paint companies is showing that it is feasible to reformulate paint to contain non-lead ingredients.

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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) Exitand the World Health Organization (WHO).Exit 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.

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Contacts

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