The eighth International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (ILPPW) will focus on accelerating progress to phase out lead paint around the world. A website for the campaign from the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint provides resources for raising awareness and regulatory action.

Paint with high lead levels are still available and used in many countries for decorative purposes, although alternatives without added lead are available.

The manufacture and sale of lead paint is still permitted in over 60% of countries, and is a source of lead exposure, especially for children and workers. Young children are particularly vulnerable to lead exposure because lead affects the developing brain, potentially resulting in reduced intellectual ability. Paint with high lead levels are still available and used in many countries for decorative purposes, although alternatives without added lead are available. 

Eliminating lead paint will help achieve SDG targets 3.9 (substantially reducing the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water, and soil pollution and contamination by 2030) and 12.4 (by 2020, achieving the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, and significantly reducing their release to air, water and soil to minimize adverse impacts on human health and the environment).

ILPPW 2020 will take place from 25-31 October 2020, engaging governments, civil society organizations, health partners, and industry, all of whom are organizing campaigns throughout the week of action. ILPPW aims to: raise awareness about health effects of lead exposure; highlight the efforts of countries and partners to prevent led exposure, particularly in children; and urge further action to eliminate lead paint through country-level regulatory action.

The ILPPW website provides a range of materials to support campaign activities have been developed by the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint (Lead Paint Alliance). These include infographics, posters, web banners, graphics, and a social media kit. It also includes a list and description of registered events, as well as fact sheets, Questions and Answers, resources on the risk of lead and lead paint, and ways to eliminate lead in paint.

Thus far, registered events during ILPPW 2020 will take place in Australia, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, France, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Malaysia, Moldova, Tajikistan, and Viet Nam. Registered activities include rallies, drama and dance, school programmes, and media and advocacy events, including lobbying activities for national legislation on lead-free paint. 

The various events aim to, inter alia:

  • strengthen or enforce existing lead paint laws;
  • increase consumer awareness about the health and environmental impacts of lead exposure, including on children;
  • increase public awareness and support for eliminating lead paint;
  • ensure draft lead paint laws are supported by stakeholders;
  • encourage implementation of new lead paint laws;
  • urge the paint industry to stop using lead-based ingredients in paints;
  • develop safe school standards without lead paint on buildings;
  • increase industry support to phase out the addition of lead to paint; and
  • convince policymakers and regulators to begin work on developing a law to eliminate lead paint.

Established in 2011, ILPPW is an initiative of the Lead Paint Alliance, which is jointly led by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The Alliance promotes the global phase-out of lead paint through establishing legally binding measures to stop the manufacture, import, export, distribution, sale and use of lead paints in every country. [WHO website for ILPPW 2020]