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International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week 2020



International Lead Poisoning
Prevention Week
25 - 31 October 2020

Learn the risk: Lead exposure adversely affects human health especially that of children

Call for action: Raise awareness and promote action to prevent lead poisoning from lead paint (major source of lead exposure), particularly in children 

Ban lead paint: Work with governments and stakeholders to establish legally binding controls on lead in paint e.g. standards and legislation
A call to action for countries to put controls in place to reduce lead exposure from lead paint
Message from Dr. Joy St. John 
Executive Director
Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA)
What is International Lead Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (ILPPW)?
International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (ILPPW) is an annual initiative of the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint (Lead Paint Alliance). The Alliance is a joint undertaking of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The Lead Paint Alliance was established because lead paint was identified as a global priority under the Strategic Approach for International Chemicals Management (SAICM)- with the goal to promote the establishment of lead paint laws in all countries. During the week, a range of activities takes place around the world. These are organised by community groups, public health departments, academia, government departments and others.
The aim of the week is to take action to: 
- Raise awareness about health effects of lead exposure;
- Highlight the efforts of countries and partners to prevent lead exposure,
particularly in children; and
- Urge and accelerate action to eliminate lead paint through regulatory and
legal action at the country level.
What is the Issue?
There is global recognition that lead poisoning is a problem particularly to children, however, many countries have NOT taken action to ban or eliminate lead in paints (decorative) - lead paint is still on the market.
Why are we interested in this issue?
There is evidence or concern to healthcare providers and public health officials worldwide that lead paint is a significant source of lead exposure, especially for children.
Who needs to change their behaviour?
- Policy-makers, regulators, legislators
- Paint manufacturers and retailers
- Public (consumers)
What changes are needed?
- Regulators will initiate the process of eliminating lead in paint by drafting
- Policy makers and legislators will support the development of new laws or revise existing laws
- Paint manufacturers will phase out the addition of lead to paints
- Public will pressure manufacturers to stop making lead paint
- Importers and distributers will prepare to comply with lead paint laws
What is lead? 
A naturally occurring toxic metal found in the Earth’s crust. It has many uses including lead-acid batteries, pigments and paints, solder, ammunition, ceramic glazes, jewellery, toys, cosmetics and traditional medicines.
What is lead poisoning? 
Refers to excessive human exposure to lead through inhalation (fumes, particles) or ingestion (lead-contaminated dust, soil, water, food). Exposure may occur over a short space of time (acute poisoning) or over a prolonged period (chronic poisoning). 
What is lead paint?
In the context of action to eliminate lead paint, the term ‘paint’ includes varnishes, lacquers, stains, enamels, glazes, primers and other coatings. Paint is typically a formulated mixture of resins, pigments, fillers, solvents and other additives. Lead paint is paint to which one or more lead compounds have been added to confer specific properties such as colour, corrosion-resistance or to speed up drying. Lead compounds are primarily added to some solvent-based paints, such as enamel (gloss) paints. The lead content of paint can range from less than 90 ppm (90 mg/kg) to over 100 000 ppm (100 000 mg/kg). 
Lead Exposure Causes Wide-ranging Health Effects and Environmental Impacts 

Lead exposure, even at low levels, exerts toxic effects on multiple body systems, including the central nervous, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, reproductive, haematological, renal, and immunological systems. 
Who is at the Most Risk?

Young children are especially vulnerable to lead toxicity, and even low levels of exposure can result in reduced intelligence quotient (IQ), reduced attention span, increased antisocial behaviour and reduced educational attainment.

Pregnant women are also vulnerable, and lead exposure is associated with reduced fetal growth, lower birth weight, preterm birth and spontaneous abortion. Lead stored in the body can be released during pregnancy, breast feeding and menopause.
Environmental impact. When released into the environment, lead poses threats to both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.