March 2019: The Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and Central Asia regional workshop on generating support for phasing out lead focused on policy support and awareness raising 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 was organized by the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead in Paint, the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and SAICM from 19-20 March 2019, in Almaty, Kazakhstan. It represented the initiation of project activities in the region, and addressed capacity obstacles faced by countries in regulating lead in paint. The workshop sought to, inter alia: increase understanding of the dangers of lead paint, including the health, economic and environmental impacts; identify elements of a strategy to eliminate lead in paint; facilitate the exchange of ideas and experiences with eliminating lead paint in the CEE region; and initiate a dialogue between decision makers and industry nationally.

Case studies presented during the workshop included: regulating lead in paints and varnishes in Belarus; lead elimination efforts in Ukraine, including a national campaign to ban the use of lead in household soluble paints and a 2017 draft technical regulation on limiting lead in paint and varnish materials; the creation of an inter-sectoral working group for drafting a lead paint regulation and approval of a draft National Strategy and Action Plan to Eliminate Lead in Paint in Moldova; and a 23 October 2018 event during Lead Poisoning Prevention Week in Moldova.

The workshop also highlighted, among other issues:

  • analytical methods for measuring lead in paint;
  • EU restrictions on lead in paints;
  • approaches to regulating lead in paint, including total lead limit and chemical-specific lead limit;
  • the status of laws in CEE and Central Asia;
  • a communication strategy towards adopting lead paint laws; and
  • the role of the International Persistent Organic Pollutant Elimination Network (IPEN) and its participating organizations.

Three more regional workshops on eliminating lead in paint will be held under the project. The African regional workshop will convene from 28-29 May, in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire; the Latin America and Caribbean regional workshop will meet in Panama City, Panama, in June; and the Asia-Pacific regional workshop will be held in July in Bangkok, Thailand.

In addition, launching workshops to provide assistance to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) on phasing out lead in paint are conducted through National Cleaner Production Centres (NCPCs) in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, China and Jordan. The project will work through IPEN partner organizations in Nigeria and Indonesia.

Eliminating lead in paint contributes to the achievement of, among others, SDG target 3.9 (reducing the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals, pollution and contamination) and SDG target 12.4 (achieving the environmentally sound management (ESM) of chemicals and wastes and reducing their release to minimize their adverse health and environmental impacts).

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 (Project Output 1.2); and SMEs to promote phasing out use of lead additives (Project Output 1.1). The project aims to achieve lead paint regulation in at least 40 countries and phase out lead from the 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 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. [CEE and Central Asia Regional Workshop Concept Note and Agenda] [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]