22 August 2019: An Asia-Pacific regional workshop built support for phasing out lead in paint, addressed the need for effective lead paint laws, and raised awareness on the Lead in Paint Component of a Global Environment Facility (GEF)-supported project on ‘Global Best Practices on Emerging Chemical Policy Issues of Concern Under the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM).’
The workshop, which convened in Bangkok, Thailand, from 21-22 August, provided an overview of the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead in Paint’s recommended actions and advice to support the establishment of lead paint laws in the Asia-Pacific region. It sought to, inter alia, enable participants to exchange views regarding the most effective ways to eliminate lead paint in the region, and identify next steps towards lead paint elimination in specific countries.
The workshop highlighted: global efforts to eliminate lead paint; regulatory and voluntary action by government and industry to phase out lead in paint; health, economic and environmental impacts of lead; a Model Law and Guidance for Regulating Lead Paint; the role of the International Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) Elimination Network (IPEN) and its participating organizations; and alternatives to lead paint and approaches for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
One presentation provided an overview of lead paint laws in the Asia Pacific and West Asia regions, including in Australia, China, India, Nepal, New Zealand, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Iraq, Israel, Jordan and Oman. In addition, a summary of lead paint testing in the region showcased efforts by the Consumers’ Association in Penang, Malaysia, where paint manufacturers have committed to eliminate lead in paint by 2020. Another presentation highlighted the Malaysian Paint Manufacturers’ Association’s (MPMA) lead-free initiatives, including the commitment by its members to remove lead in decorative paints by 2018. Presentations also highlighted efforts to develop lead paint laws in the Philippines, Jordan and Bangladesh.
The workshop was organized by the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead in Paint, the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and SAICM.
Regional workshops also convened for: the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and Central Asia region in Almaty, Kazakhstan, from 19-20 March 2019; the African region in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, from 28-29 May; and the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region in Panama City, Panama, from 12-13 June 2019.
National Cleaner Production Centre (NCPC) launching workshops to provide assistance to SMEs on phasing out lead in paint convened in Amman, Jordan, from 31 March to 1 April, and in Lima, Peru, from 18-19 June, while another NCPC launch will take place in Beijing, China, from 16-17 October.
Eliminating lead in paint contributes to the achievement of, among others, SDG targets 3.9 (reducing the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals, pollution and contamination) and 12.4 (achieving the environmentally sound management of chemicals and wastes and reducing their release to minimize adverse health and environmental impacts). [Workshop Concept Note and Agenda] [Regional Workshops Website] [Lead in Paint Information on SAICM Website] [Information About the Lead in Paint Component of SAICM/GEF Project] [Lead in Paint Component Briefing Note] [2018 Update on the Global Status of Legal Limits on Lead in Paint] [Lead Infographics]
To combat lead poisoning and use, the Lead in Paint Component of the SAICM/GEF Project promotes regulatory and voluntary action by government and industry to phase out lead in paint. It seeks to achieve this by working with: governments to support the development of lead paint regulations; and SMEs to promote phasing out use of lead additives. The project seeks to achieve lead paint regulation in at least 40 countries and phase out lead from production processes of approximately 50 SME paint manufacturers. The project was launched in January 2019 during an inception workshop in Geneva, Switzerland, and will run through 2021.
In addition, UNEP and WHO established the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint to prevent children’s exposure and minimize occupational exposure to lead paints. The Alliance aims to phase out the manufacture and sale of lead paints and eliminate their risks. Each year, it organizes the International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week.
Lead-containing paint is one of the major sources of lead exposure for children globally and was identified as an Emerging Policy Issue by the SAICM. Lead poisoning causes intellectual disabilities in approximately 600,000 children every year and can have lifelong health impacts. No known level of lead exposure is considered safe for adults or children.