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Interactive Tool Illuminates Status of National Lead Paint Laws

The Strategic Approach for International Chemicals Management (SAICM) website features an interactive map that shows the status of national lead paint laws around the world, using data provided by governments as of February 2021. Among other types of information, the map sorts countries with lead paint laws by income level. Currently 71% of high-income countries have lead paint laws, while only 10% of low-income countries have enacted such laws.Scrolling over each country in the interactive map provides information on that country’s lead paint law, including the year the law was passed and the total lead content limit if one has been set. According to the map, 41% of countries have lead paint laws, 42% of countries do not, and no data is available for 17% of countries. 

The countries to enact lead paint laws most recently are Colombia and Viet Nam, both of which enacted laws in 2020. Colombia’s law has a 90 ppm limit for household paint. Viet Nam set a 600 ppm lead limit as of December 2020 but will have a 90 ppm limit for some paints as of December 2025. 

Other resources on eliminating lead paint are produced by the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint (Lead Paint Alliance). In September 2020 the Alliance published a fact sheet detailing considerations on the process of drafting lead paint laws that countries have found helpful. It discusses stakeholder engagement to gain support for lead paint laws, including identifying relevant ministries and conducting meetings with civil society and industry actors. The fact sheet suggests assessing options for developing a lead paint law by: reviewing the current regulatory framework for existing or needed authorities for regulating lead paint; deciding which ministry will provide leadership for developing a law; and designating the lead agency for drafting the legal limitations for lead paint. To facilitate the legal drafting process, it suggests: establishing a drafting and coordinating group; referring to materials such as the Model Law and Guidance for Regulating Lead Paint for guidance; and identifying or establishing mechanisms for input to the group from non-governmental experts and stakeholders, including industry and civil society.

The fact sheet also recommends that when developing the draft law, the text includes specific limits on lead in paint, clear definitions, and effective enforcement provisions. It also suggests conducting a public review process as needed, notes steps required to enact the law, and advises on planning ahead for implementation.

The Alliance was formed by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to prevent exposure to lead through promoting the phase-out of paints containing lead. [Interactive map on lead paint laws, updated February 2021] [Fact sheet: Process Considerations for Drafting Lead Paint Laws] [Website of Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint]

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