Paint that contains lead additives poses a risk of lead poisoning, especially for young children. As lead paint deteriorates over time, children may inhale or ingest lead through household dust, paint chips or contaminated soil.
There is no known level of lead exposure that is considered to be safe.
Childhood lead poisoning can have lifelong health impacts, including: learning disabilities, anemia, and disorders in coordination, visual, spatial and language skills.
Based on a recent study, estimated reduced cognitive potentials (loss of IQ points) due to preventable childhood lead exposure equal to 98.2 million points in Africa, 283.6 million in Asia, and 24.4 million in Latin America and the Caribbean, which translate into economic losses equal to $134.7, $699.9, and $142.3 billions of international dollars, respectively Unfortunately it is still legal to sell lead paint in many countries around the world for decorating homes, schools and children’s toys.
The Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint is a voluntary partnership established to help achieve international goals to prevent children’s exposure to lead paint and to minimize occupational exposures to lead paint. The broad objective of the Alliance is to promote a phase-out of the manufacture and sale of paints containing lead and to eventually eliminate the risks that such paints pose.
Substitutes for lead paint are cost effective and relatively easy to obtain. Paints without lead additives have been used in many countries for decades and have proven to be viable, cost-effective alternatives to lead paint. Establishing legal limits on lead in new paint has been shown to be an effective tool to decrease the sale and use of lead paint. Yet there are still many areas of the world where it is legal to sell paint containing lead additives. Working together through the Global Alliance, governments, industry and NGOS are working to protect people around the world from exposure to lead through paint.