|19. Lead in paint
|The US was the first
country, in 1978, to limit lead in house paint to such a low level as 600
parts per million (ppm). Australian residential paint was limited to 1000 ppm
in 1997 and remains with that limit today. However, in 2010, Australia set a
global precedent by banning the addition of lead compounds to paints of all
kinds except artists’ paints (automotive, industrial, residential,
road-marking, etc) and no country has yet matched that ban. No country has
banned lead or other heavy metals in artists’ paints.
|Sadly, 2.5 billion
people still live in countries where there is no limit on the amount of lead
in any kind of paint, which is equivalent to Australia’s residential paint
standard prior to 1970 and our industrial paint standard prior to 2010. In
1962 a Sydney boy died from eating house paint that was later tested as
containing 84% lead.
amounts of lead in unregulated paint is the reason the Global Alliance to
Eliminate Lead in Paint was set up by the WHO and the UN Environment
Programme, in 2009.
|The US EPA’s
residential lead paint management policies, are world’s best practice, and
point the way to an eventual global ban on lead in all paints, and in the
management of historical lead paint. Measures include blood lead testing for
all children under Medicaid between the ages of 1 year and 6 years, a new 90
ppm lead limit for new house paint, 5000 ppm lead trigger level for paint
abatement, lead certification of contractors and inspectors, and mandatory
disclosure of lead hazards in housing for rent or purchase.