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East Africa Workshop on the Development of National and Regional Regulations and Standards on Lead in Paints

The East Africa Workshop on the Development of National and Regional Regulations and Standards on Lead in Paints will be co-hosted by the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania and the United Nations Environment Programme 13-14 September 2016, Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania.


Draft Agenda

Draft Concept Note



Lead is a cumulative toxicant particularly hazardous to young children and pregnant women. No safe level of lead exposure has been established. Lead in paint is a major route of lead exposure, especially for children. Lead paint is still widely available in developing countries and countries with economies in transition. The estimated reduced cognitive potentials (loss of IQ points) due to preventable childhood lead exposure equals to 98.2 million points which translates to $134.7 billion of economic loss, or 4.03% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Africa.  

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has been engaged in action to address the environmental and health risks posed by lead, focusing to date on the phasing out lead in fuels and paints. UNEP, in cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO), supports the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paints (Lead Paint Alliance), a global partnership aiming at phasing out the use of lead in paint by 2020.

In response to the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) Resolution 1/5 Chemicals and Waste VI on lead and cadmium (June 2014) which “requests the United Nations Environment Programme, in coordination with the World Health Organization, to continue to build capacity on lead paint through possible regional workshops”, UNEP and IPEN jointly organized the East Africa regional Workshop on the Establishment of Legal Limits on Lead in Paint and the GEF UNEP/IPEN Regional Lead Paint Elimination Project in Africa Workshop.

Government officials and stakeholders from 15 African countries agreed to adopt a lead limit for all paints of 90 parts per million and to cooperate to phase out the use of lead in paint by 2020.

Partner countries have expressed their willingness to follow the implementation of 90 ppm standard as decided in the Addis Ababa workshop. An East African regional standard on lead in paint applicable to five East African countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda) is currently being developed. Tanzania and Kenya through their Bureaux of Standards have been in the process of establishing standards on lead paint which shall implement the 90 ppm standard.  

Specific objectives of the workshop are the following:

  • Advance co-operation, commitment, and action towards the elimination of lead in paint;
  • Exchange information on the government policies and stakeholder actions, and available tools and experiences towards the elimination of lead in paint;
  • Develop strategies for establishing a harmonised standard for lead in paint in the East African Community;
  • Building knowledge and understanding of environmental law, including regulations on lead in paint and elements for a possible development of a lead paint model law or regulation in the region;
  • Foster commitment of governments and stakeholders and agree on future actions, including implementation and enforcement of national and regional regulations and standards on lead in paints.  

Follow-up actions after this workshop may include information sharing in national policy development, next steps in regional process to establish a harmonised standard/regulation in the East African Community, and reporting at future meetings.