At the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), nations decided to phase out lead in lead-based paints, and this decision was reinforced at the second meeting of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM2) in 2009 that identified lead in paint as an emerging policy issue. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) were invited to establish a global partnership to promote phasing out the use of lead in paints, ie, the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint (GAELP). The Alliance aims to catalyze efforts to prevent children’s exposure to lead from paints and to minimize occupational exposures to lead paint.
At the subsequent ICCM3 in September of 2012, governments stressed the continuing danger that lead paint posed to human health and the environment as we continue to gain momentum in addressing this issue. As recently as February of 2013, the UNEP Governing Council emphasized that further actions are needed to address challenges posed by lead and cadmium and mandated continued activity on GAELP.
The primary goal of the Alliance is to prevent children’s exposure to lead paint and to minimize occupational exposures to lead paint. In this context, the Alliance is committed to efforts that support primary prevention, seeking to reduce or eliminate the conditions that give rise to environmental lead exposure before such exposures can occur. Its broad objective is to achieve the phase-out of the manufacture and sale of paints containing lead and to eventually eliminate the risks that such paints pose.
UNEP, in collaboration with the WHO, has developed a business strategy that aims to address gaps in availability and accessibility of information about paints on the market that still contain added lead and gaps in stakeholder awareness. UNEP and WHO will also organize an “International lead poisoning prevention week of action” from during October 20-26th 2013 to raise awareness about lead poisoning, both from paint and other sources.