5/19/2016 4:17 AM
UNEP is providing Central and Eastern European and Central Asian countries with tools to develop legislation stamping out lead in paint.
A regulatory toolkit developed by the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint– lead by UNEP and the World Health Organisation - is being presented to 17 countries at a workshop held in Chisinau, Moldova today and tomorrow.
Overall exposure to the heavy metal, often via lead in paint, is estimated to contribute to about 600,000 new cases of intellectual disability among children every year, with the vast majority living in low and middle-income countries. Pregnant women are also particularly at risk as exposure can cause miscarriage and other problems, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Out of the 17, only five countries report to have legally-binding controls on lead in paint in place. Globally, 65 governments report to not have legally-binding laws on the topic, while information is lacking for a further 71 countries.
“Children in Europe and around the world have the right to play and paint without being at risk of a serious health hazard. Alternatives to lead in paint are widely available and low in cost. UNEP is pleased to support countries take action to banish this danger for good, following other global successes” underlined Jan Dusik, Director of UNEP’s Regional Office for Europe.
“I am confident that the workshop’s outcomes will foster the development of relevant national secondary legislation,” said Valeriu Munteanu, Minister of the Environment of Moldova, at the workshop opening.
Representatives from the following countries are attending the workshop: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Montenegro, Republic of Moldova, Republic of Serbia, Republic of Uzbekistan, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkmenistan and Ukraine.
Following a similar workshop held in Addis Ababa last December, 15 East African countries agreed to adopt a legal total lead limit of 90 parts per million for all paints by 2020. Since then, work is already underway between two countries and IPEN, a civil society NGO, to draw up legislation banning lead in paint.
The two-day event – part of a global series - is financed by UNEP and co-hosted by the organisation together with the Government of the Republic of Moldova.
Chemicals and waste, including lead in paint, will furthermore be discussed at the United Nations Environment Assembly taking place on 23-27 May in Nairobi.
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Photo credit: Anastasia Gangal