Clariant Commits to Global Lead Paint Elimination


Specialty chemicals company Clariant has announced that it is helping to accelerating the global phase-out of lead-based paint. The move was prompted by the eighth International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week held late last month.

The Prevention Week is an initiative of the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint, jointly led by the United Nations Environment Program and the World Health Organization, with the goal of drawing attention to the need for more action on lead paint and other sources of lead exposure.

“As one of the first companies to completely end the production, and supply, of lead-based pigments in the mid-1980s (Hoechst AG—now Clariant), Clariant supported the Global Alliance campaign to eliminate lead paint and, through regulatory and legal measures, accelerate progress towards its global phase out,” the company said in a press release.

What’s Going On

To accomplish this, Clariant announced that it is supporting the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management, which is hosted by the UN Environment Program, and is a global policy framework aiming to protect humans and the environment from chemicals and waste.

“Only 77 countries currently have legally binding controls on the manufacture, import and sale of lead paint, meaning that it is still permitted in a substantial number of countries, presenting a continuing and future source of lead exposure for children and workers,” said John Dunne, Clariant’s Head of Business Unit Pigments.

“That’s why we believe the SAICM Global Environment Facility project, ‘Global best practices on emerging chemical policy issues of concern under the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management,’ is an important initiative that sustainable and forward-looking companies should support.”

One of Clariant’s focuses will be supporting small to medium enterprises in transitioning to a lead-free paint market, along with providing safer solutions in countries where paint manufacturing with lead-based materials is still considered a cost advantage.

“In such markets, legislation without providing alternatives can inhibit public and industry acceptance of safer solutions and could prevent eliminating lead paints altogether; the fear of manufacturers is they will not be able to effectively compete without lower cost alternatives,” the company said, pointing to its own range of lead-free alternatives.

Clariant says it will continue its engagement in public policy dialogue on the issue as well as supporting SAICM in its push for legislation to set the course of the market and support SMEs in the transition ahead.

The legislation shift, according to Dunne, is paramount.

“A key lesson for me is that without legislation to phase out lead in paint, the shift to sustainable solutions is occurring at a very low pace, regardless of our efforts,” he said in a Q&A.

“An unregulated market favors the avoiders and exploiters, but not the innovators and caretakers. As long as damage to people’s health and the environment are not part of the equation, legislation must set the course of the market with SMEs supported in the transition ahead.”


Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; Clariant; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Health & Safety; Health and safety; Latin America; Lead; Lead; Lead rule; North America; Safety; Z-Continents

Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.