International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is an initiative of the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint, a voluntary partnership formed by UN Environment and the World Health Organization to prevent exposure to lead, by promoting the phase-out of paints containing lead.
International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week takes place every year during the last week of October. The purpose of the campaign week is to raise awareness of the need for action to address the human health effects of exposure to lead, especially in relation to children. A particular focus of the campaign week is to urge further action by governments, industry and consumers to eliminate lead paint.
On the eve of the International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action, which begins this year on October 20, two countries, Israel and Bangladesh, have passed laws limiting the lead content in paint at 90 ppm. Thus, the total number of countries regulating the production, import and sale of lead-containing paints has reached seventy-three.
Israel has set a limit of 90 ppm for all types of paints. Bangladesh has passed a law restricting lead content only in decorative paints, in particular for painting internal and external surfaces in homes, schools, public and commercial premises, as well as toys, furniture and playgrounds.
The most effective way to prevent the use of lead in paints is to enact national laws and legally binding standards prohibiting the use of lead additives in paints. At a minimum, countries should stop the production, import and sale of household decorative lead paints and consider limiting lead in all types of paints.
Lead-based paint is one of the sources of exposure to lead in children around the world. This issue has been identified as an emerging policy issue of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM). Lead poisoning causes mental retardation in approximately 600,000 children a year and can have health consequences throughout life.