The webinar took place online, chaired by the US EPA and UN Environment's Regional Office in Latin America and the Caribbean, on Friday, April 7th.
Prompted by global concerns about the exposure to lead contained in paint addressed at the second United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-2) in May 2016, CARICOM countries expressed an interest in learning about the issue and its impacts for the region and tasked UN Environment with communicating the problems relating to lead in paint.
UN Environment responded to this interest and in joint efforts with the Pan-American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (WHO/PAHO), released a joint letter and briefing document on the impacts of lead in paint with proposed action for countries.
The webinar convened jointly by UN Environment, along with the Pan-American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) and hosted by the US Environmental Protection Agency, allowed the leaders of the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead in Paint to share with Caribbean governments further information on the health and economic impacts and to discuss the recommendations and actions for the Caribbean.
Lead exposure presents a toxic risk to human health but among the most vulnerable are children. According to Walker Smith of the US Environment Protection Agency, “they drink more water, eat more food and breathe in more air than adults” He also pointed out that their developing organ systems make them more susceptible to the damaging effects of lead exposure.
Household dust, paint chips and contaminated soil inhaled or ingested as lead paint deteriorates, expose more children worldwide to lead poisoning each year.
Many countries have made strides in establishing bans on lead paint, according to UN Environment’s Global Report on the Status of Legal Limits on Lead in Paints, but for 70% of countries in the world, it is still legal to sell lead paint. In the CARICOM region, only two countries have mandatory lead paint laws.
This presents great concerns for CARICOM leaders, as childhood lead poisoning could have a great impact on the economy and health of the region.
Find a web story on our Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean's website H E R E .