1 April 2019: A launch workshop for a National Cleaner Production Centre (NCPC) in Jordan convened as part of a project that aims to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to phase out lead in paint. The workshop focused on demonstration pilots with SME paint manufacturers, an element of the broader 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 project will work through the NCPC in Jordan to help SMEs phase out lead in paint, and support SMEs during a paint reformulation industry pilot test, based on technical guidelines developed by NCPC Serbia.

The workshop, which took place in Amman, Jordan, from 31 March to 1 April and was organized by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and Jordan’s Royal Scientific Society, provided the opportunity to share information related to lead paint, including data and information on health and economic impacts, lead paint testing, current legislation and the paint market. The workshop focused on raising awareness on advances on lead paint elimination, reviewed the status of lead in paint in Jordan and globally, and launched paint reformulation technical guidelines.

Most of the paint manufacturers in Jordan are classified as SMEs, and have limited technical and financial resources.

A 2012 study of 17 paint samples representing 16 Jordanian industries and importing companies found that levels of lead exceeding target levels of 90 or 600 parts per million (ppm) were found in 12% to 18% of samples, which led to a broader awareness-raising campaign. Most of the paint manufacturers in Jordan are classified as SMEs, and have limited technical and financial resources. Since 2015, Jordan has had a legally-binding standard that applies to all lead compounds with a binding limit of 0.06% (600 ppm) of lead in paint, with exceptions for industrial paints, car paints, road paints and artists paints. Jordan is currently working on revising the existing law.

The economic cost of childhood lead exposure in Jordan is USD 466 million. Globally, 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.

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 by working with: governments to support the development of lead paint regulations (Output 1.2); and SMEs to promote phasing out use of lead additives from their production processes (Output 1.1). The project aims to achieve lead paint regulation in at least 40 countries and the phasing out of lead from the production processes of at least 50 SME paint manufacturers. The project began in January 2019 at its inception workshop in Geneva, Switzerland, and will run through 2021.

Launching workshops to provide assistance to SMEs on phasing out lead in paint are also conducted through NCPCs in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and China. The project will work through International Persistent Organic Pollutant Elimination Network (IPEN) partner organizations in Nigeria and Indonesia. A series of four regional workshops on eliminating lead in paint will also be held under the project.

In addition, UNEP and the World Health Organization (WHO) have established the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint to prevent exposure to lead paints and minimize occupational exposure to lead paints. The Alliance aims to phase out the manufacture, import and sale of lead paints and eliminate their risks, and to have effective lead paint laws in place in all countries by 2020. Each year, it organizes the International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week.

Eliminating lead in paint will contribute to the achievement of 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). [Workshop Concept Note and Agenda] [Overview of SAICM/GEF Project’s Lead Paint Component] [Lead in Paint Information on SAICM Website] [Lead in Paint Component Briefing Note] [Actions for Governments, Industry and Civil Society Organizations] [2018 Update on the Global Status of Legal Limits on Lead in Paint] [Lead Infographics] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on CEE and Central Asia Regional Workshop]