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Lead Safety Campaigns Target Paint

Monday, October 21, 2013

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The U.S.'s National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, focusing on the hazards of lead paint, has hit the world stage.

U.S. federal agencies are cross-promoting National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, which began Sunday (Oct. 20), with the first-ever International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action.

The international campaign is focusing on the efforts of the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint, a joint initiative by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week
EPA

U.S. federal agencies are targeting a variety of audiences about the dangers of lead and lead paint.

Both weeklong campaigns have the same theme: "Lead-Free Kids for a Healthy Future."

U.S. Lead Week

In the United States, National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week includes warnings for contractors, building owners, landlords, tenants and homeowners. Even though lead was banned from architectural coatings in the U.S. in 1978, it remains a hazardous presence in millions of homes nationwide, authorities say.

Messages from the Environmental Protection Agency underscore ways parents can reduce a child's exposure to lead. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Housing and Urban Development are reaching out to other audiences with their own line-up of awareness events.

The international campaign also has a roster of events worldwide that aim to raise awareness about lead poisoning, highlight efforts to prevent childhood lead poisoning, and urge further action to eliminate lead paint.

'Flashpoint'

Calling lead paint a "major flashpoint" in lead poisoning of children, WHO is urging the adoption of regulations and procedures that eliminate the use of lead in decorative paints and inform the public about the hazards of renovations that disturb lead paint.

The Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint ties 143,000 deaths a year to lead poisoning and lead paint.

International Lead Poisoning Awareness Week
UNEP

Lead paint has been eliminated in 30 countries, but paints with high levels of lead are still available in developing countries.

"The good news is that exposure to lead paint can be entirely stopped through a range of measures to restrict the production and use of lead paint," said Dr. Maria Neira, WHO Director for Public Health and Environment.

'Lead-Free Kids'

Both the U.S. and international campaign send a strong and pointed message about avoiding lead paint.

Globally, 30 countries have phased out lead paint; however, it continues to be a source of exposure until it is finally stripped and replaced. The cost of replacing lead paint means that people living in older, poorly maintained housing are at a higher risk, and economically deprived communities are disproportionately affected, WHO says.

The Global Alliance aims to eliminate lead paint in 70 countries by 2015 and in all countries by 2020.

600,000 New Cases

Lead exposure is estimated to contribute to 600,000 new cases of children with intellectual disabilities every year, WHO says. Lead poisoning, with lead paint as a major contributor, causes an estimated 143,000 deaths per year.

Overall, 99 percent of children affected by high exposure live in low- and middle-income countries, says WHO.

"Lead poisoning remains one of the most important environmental health concerns for children globally, and lead paint is a major flashpoint for children's potential lead poisoning," said Neira.

lead paint
UNEP

Lead paint is a major contributor to lead poisoning, which leads to 143,000 deaths annually, WHO says.

High levels of lead exposure can damage the brain and central nervous system, causing comas, convulsions and even death. Lower levels, which were once considered safe, have no obvious symptoms but are now known to cause numerous negative health effects.

'Extremely High Levels'

"Paints with extremely high levels of lead are still available in most of the developing countries where paint testing has been conducted as part of the efforts of the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint," said David Piper, Deputy Director of UNEP 's Division of Technology, Industry and Economics'  Chemicals Branch.

He added: "In most countries with lead paint, equivalent paint with no added lead is also available, suggesting that alternatives to lead are readily available to manufacturers."

   

Tagged categories: Architectural coatings; Centers for Disease Control; EPA; Government; Health and safety; HUD; Laws and litigation; Lead; Regulations

Comment from Catherine Brooks, (10/22/2013, 9:47 PM)

Very impactful poster from the Global Alliance. Thanks, D&D, for spotlighting programs around the world.


Comment from Catherine Brooks, (10/22/2013, 9:47 PM)

Very impactful poster from the Global Alliance. Thanks, D&D, for spotlighting programs around the world.


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