HomeEventsAll eventsUNEP guides coun­tries to stamp out lead in paint

UNEP guides coun­tries to stamp out lead in paint

Cen­tral and East­ern Euro­pean, Cen­tral Asian states to make fur­ther moves to end hid­den hazard

Chisinau, Moldova – 19 May 2016: Cen­tral and East­ern Euro­pean and Cen­tral Asian coun­tries are being offered expert tools and guid­ance from the United Nations Envi­ron­ment Pro­gramme (UNEP) to ensure that the use of lead in paint ends by 2020.

At the work­shop begin­ning today at the Radis­son Blu Leogrand Hotel in Chisinau, a reg­u­la­tory toolkit for estab­lish­ing lead paint laws will be pre­sented to 17 coun­tries and dis­cus­sions take place on strate­gies for leg­isla­tive action at national but also regional level.

Over­all expo­sure to the heavy metal – often via lead in paint — is esti­mated to con­tribute to about 600,000 new cases of intel­lec­tual dis­abil­ity among chil­dren every year, with the vast major­ity liv­ing in low and middle-​income coun­tries. Preg­nant women are also par­tic­u­larly at risk as expo­sure can cause mis­car­riage and other prob­lems, accord­ing to the World Health Organ­i­sa­tion (WHO).

Out of the 17 coun­tries attend­ing the event, only five report to have legally-​binding con­trols on lead in paint in place. Glob­ally, 65 gov­ern­ments report to not have legally-​binding laws on the topic, while infor­ma­tion is lack­ing for a fur­ther 71 countries.

Chil­dren in Europe and around the world have the right to play and paint with­out being at risk of a seri­ous health haz­ard. Alter­na­tives to lead in paint are widely avail­able and low in cost. UNEP is pleased to sup­port coun­tries take action to ban­ish this dan­ger for good, fol­low­ing other global suc­cesses” under­lined Jan Dusik, Direc­tor of UNEP’s Regional Office for Europe.

I am con­fi­dent that the workshop’s out­comes will fos­ter the devel­op­ment of rel­e­vant national sec­ondary leg­is­la­tion,” said Valeriu Munteanu, Min­is­ter of the Envi­ron­ment of Moldova, at the work­shop opening.

Moldova’s legal frame­work on waste and chem­i­cals is already tak­ing shape. A draft law on waste has passed first read­ing in the Moldovan Par­lia­ment while one on chem­i­cals will soon be sent to the gov­ern­ment for approval.

The Gov­ern­ment of the Repub­lic of Moldova “expresses its com­mit­ment to pro­mote the polit­i­cal and reg­u­la­tory frame­work on chem­i­cal sub­stances in con­nec­tion with inter­na­tional envi­ron­men­tal treaties to which Moldova is a party” under­lined Mr Munteanu.

Stud­ies cov­er­ing 37 coun­tries have mean­while revealed that new paints con­tain­ing high lead con­cen­tra­tions are widely avail­able to con­sumers in many global regions[i]. Even in states with laws reg­u­lat­ing the issue, paint con­tain­ing lead may have been used in older homes and build­ings before such con­trols were established.

Fol­low­ing a sim­i­lar work­shop held in Addis Ababa last Decem­ber, 15 East African coun­tries agreed to adopt a legal total lead limit of 90 parts per mil­lion for all paints by 2020. Since then, work is already under­way between two coun­tries and the Inter­na­tional POPs Elim­i­na­tion Net­work to draw up leg­is­la­tion ban­ning lead in paint.

The two-​day event – part of a global series — is financed by UNEP and co-​hosted by the organ­i­sa­tion together with the Gov­ern­ment of the Repub­lic of Moldova.

Note to editors

A ban on lead in paint was first con­sid­ered at inter­na­tional level by the League of Nations in the 1920s. The WHO lists lead expo­sure as one of the top ten global envi­ron­men­tal health threats. Poi­son­ing from the metal can have life­long health impacts on chil­dren, includ­ing reduced IQ, learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties, hyper­ten­sion and seizures.

The reg­u­la­tory toolkit is pre­pared by the Global Alliance to Elim­i­nate Lead Paint, which is co-​led by UNEP and the WHO and aims to ensure that lead in paint is elim­i­nated glob­ally by 2020.

Devel­op­ing coun­tries show the strongest increases in paint con­sump­tion but gen­er­ally lack reg­u­la­tion pre­vent­ing the use of lead in paint. Offi­cials and pol­icy experts from the fol­low­ing coun­tries are attend­ing the work­shop: Alba­nia, Arme­nia, Azer­bai­jan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herze­gov­ina, Geor­gia, Kaza­khstan, Kyr­gyz Repub­lic, Mon­tene­gro, Repub­lic of Moldova, Repub­lic of Ser­bia, Repub­lic of Uzbek­istan, Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion, Tajik­istan, the For­mer Yugoslav Repub­lic of Mace­do­nia, Turk­menistan and Ukraine.

Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment Goal 12 on sus­tain­able con­sump­tion and pro­duc­tion aims to achieve ‘the envi­ron­men­tally sound man­age­ment of chem­i­cals and all wastes through­out their life cycle, in accor­dance with agreed inter­na­tional frame­works, and sig­nif­i­cantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to min­i­mize their adverse impacts on human health and the envi­ron­ment’ by 2020.

Chem­i­cals and waste – includ­ing lead in paint will fur­ther­more be dis­cussed at the United Nations Envi­ron­ment Assem­bly tak­ing place on 2327 May in Nairobi.

For more infor­ma­tion, please contact:

Isabelle Valentiny, Head of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, UNEP’s Regional Office for Europe, +41 79 251 82 36, This email address is being pro­tected from spam­bots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

[i] Sta­tus of the phas­ing out of lead paint by coun­tries: 2015 global report (SAICM/ICCM.4/INF/25)

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