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News Release

Representatives of European Union (EU) countries will this week examine an application by Canadian-based Dominion Colour Corporation to continue to use lead pigments despite a ban from the European Chemicals Agency. Dominion has spent over 1 million Euros over the past three years to be exempted from an EU ban on two lead pigments used in paints, which was originally scheduled to come into effect in May 2015. Dominion states that its lead pigments are supposed to be used for industrial purposes.

“Other paint companies including the largest ones in Europe have already stopped using lead in paint and support the ban,” said Tatiana Santos of the European Environmental Bureau, “We are outraged that a Canadian company is single-handedly fighting to continue the use of lead pigments in paint.”

Dominion is one of the largest manufacturers of lead pigments in the world and has factories in Canada, Europe and other countries. At a February 3 and 4, 2016 meeting of the EU REACH Committee, representatives of EU countries will discuss Dominion's application.

“The biggest paint company in the world, AkzoNobel, stopped using lead in any of its products, including industrial paints, since 2011,” said Perry Gottesfeld, Executive Director of Occupational Knowledge International. “We urge the EU REACH Committee to deny Dominion's claims and act to protect public health.”

中文 (Chinese)

(Beijing, China) A new study on lead in decorative paints sold in China released today by Insight Explorer and IPEN finds that more than half of the paints analyzed exceed Chinese lead regulations. Moreover, even when paint brands offer paint with lower levels of lead, consumers have no way of knowing it because very few of 141 paint cans analyzed in the study carried information about lead content on the label.

“The health impacts of lead exposure on young children’s brains are lifelong, irreversible and untreatable,” said Pan Qingan, Project Director of China Heavy Metal Pollution Map. “We are limiting our children and our nation’s future intellectual development even though safe and effective alternatives are already in use and widely available in China. We must reduce this critical source of lead exposure to young children.”

This report presents the results from a study of the total lead content of solvent-based enamel decorative paints available on the market in China. Although China already implemented regulations controlling lead content of paint for interior and decorative use in 2001, two studies since then (both published in 2009) showed that many solvent-based decorative paints still contained high levels of lead. This study was undertaken with an aim to increase information about the lead content of solvent-based enamel decorative paints available on the market in China in 2014.

Participants of UNEP workshop agreed that African countries should adopt a lead limit for all paints of 90 parts per million.

en français

Addis Ababa, 4 December 2015 - Government officials and stakeholders from 15 African countries joined by their counterparts from around the world at a workshop jointly organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Persistent Organic Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) in Addis Ababa agreed to cooperate to phase out the use of lead in paint by 2020.

The release of lead into the environment poses significant risks to human health and the environment. World Health Organization lists lead exposure as one of the top ten environmental health threats globally. No level of lead exposure is safe for people, and children are especially vulnerable. Paints that contain lead additives pose a risk of lead poisoning, especially for young children.

On November 25th, Centre de Recherche et d’Education pour le Développement / Research and Education Centre for Development (CREPD), IPEN’s Regional Hub for Francophone Africa, held a stakeholders workshop in Yaoundé, Cameroon and publicly released their new paint analyses results. The paints had been tested for levels of lead content. Representatives from industry, government ministries, pediatricians, academia from the faculty of medicine, UNIDO (the United Nations Industrial Development Organization), NGOs, and the media attended the workshop.

The Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint, 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, has featured IPEN's successful Asian Lead Paint Elimination Project in its new newsletter, stating, "Through the work of Alliance Partner IPEN and its partners in its EU-funded Asian Lead Paint Elimination Project, several countries in Asia have enacted or are planning to enact new limits on lead in paint."

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