Lead Paint Still Sold in a Majority of Countries Despite Global Phase-Out Efforts

For Immediate Release

27 October 2020


Indonesia: Yuyun Ismawati, yuyun@nexus3foundation.org, +44 7583 768707

Global: Jeiel Guarino, jeielguarino@ipen.org

Lead Paint Still Sold in a Majority of Countries Despite Global Phase-Out Efforts

NGOs Lead the Way to Elimination

Gothenburg, Sweden/Jakarta, Indonesia, 27 October 2020 - Enforced lead paint regulation makes a critical difference for eliminating one of the most widespread threats of lead poisoning for children. A new report shows and non-governmental organizations play a key role in catalyzing national regulations.

The report, from the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN), with data on lead in paint from almost 60 countries, shows that in 25 out of 27 countries, the adopted protective legal limits on lead in paint were propelled by the work of non-governmental organizations. Countries without enforced regulations in place had lead paint available on the market posing health risks to children and other vulnerable groups.

A survey from the World Health Organization shows that lead paint is still not regulated in a majority of countries, despite a global goal to phase out these paints by the year 2020. As of 31 May 2020, only 39% of countries had confirmed that they have legally binding controls on lead paint. In addition, many of these regulations are not protective enough since they include exemptions, lax limits, or are not enforced.

In the last 12 years, progress achieved to date is largely due to efforts by NGOs, mainly through national campaigns and provided momentum to the process of developing new or strengthened legislations in almost 50 countries. A key conclusion based on the IPEN analysis of more than 3,500 solvent-based paints is clear: NGOs in collaboration with country stakeholders from government, industry, and civil society, are very effective in supporting country action to adopt lead paint regulations and ultimately eliminate lead paint.

“It is encouraging to see countries adopting new, strong laws to ban lead paint and the critical role that public interest groups have played in facilitating fruitful collaboration with other stakeholders. NGOs bring a unique citizens’ perspective and experience to the table and have been instrumental in moving the goal of eliminating lead paint forward nationally, regionally, and globally,” said Manny Calonzo, IPEN Advisor, and winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize 2018 for his alliance work in the Philippines with the NGO EcoWaste Coalition.

This week, during the eighth annual International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action, these successes are celebrated and the urgent need for additional action is highlighted through activities by NGOs in 36 countries.

In Indonesia, Nexus3 Foundation is still pushing a stricter regulation through various activities, such as launching an online petition, to gain the people's voice in order to push the government to develop a strong and protective regulation on lead free paint. Other activities include organizing a webinar that is open for public with the experts from Indonesian Pediatrician Association, paint manufacturer association and also an environmental lawyer from ICEL (Indonesian Center for Environmental Law).

“The use of lead in paint has been banned in many industrialized countries for decades, and cost-effective alternatives to leaded paint ingredients are widely available. Yet 23 million children throughout Indonesia continue to be exposed to lifelong and irreversible damage due to exposure to lead in paint. This situation is completely preventable. Lead paint needs to be eliminated in Indonesia,” said Yuyun Ismawati, Senior Advisor of Nexus3 Foundation, Goldman Environmental Prize 2009.

“Lead paint is one of the most widespread sources of childhood lead exposure and can cause permanent and irreversible brain damage in children's developing brains. Lead paint can cause reduced intelligence quotient (IQ) and attention span, impaired learning ability, and increased risk of behavioral problems. There is no known level of lead exposure without harmful effects and we therefore need concerted efforts to prohibit lead in all types of paint,” said Jeiel Guarino, IPEN Global Lead Paint Elimination Campaigner.

In order to accelerate efforts to eliminate lead paint globally within the next five years, the report calls for:

  • International agencies to continue providing guidance and information to individual governments seeking assistance in establishing regulatory controls on lead in paint.

  • National governments are taking steps now to begin developing lead paint regulations in consultation with national stakeholders.

  • Paint manufacturers, paint industry trade associations, and paint ingredient vendors to take voluntary action immediately to eliminate lead from all paints.

  • Donors to make significant new resources available for global lead paint elimination, with a focus on strategic country actions.


IPEN (International Pollutants Elimination Network), the global environmental health network of over 600 organizations in 124 countries, works to eliminate and reduce the most hazardous substances to forge a toxics-free future.

Nexus3 Foundation - Nexus for Health, Environment and Development Foundation or Nexus3, works to safeguard the public, especially vulnerable population, from the impacts of development to health and the environment, works towards a just, toxics-free and sustainable future.

Nexus3, formerly known as BaliFokus, conducted the first project on lead paint elimination in Indonesia in 2012-2015 with the funding support from SWITCH Asia and IPEN. Since 2012, Nexus3 has also participated in the Global Week of Action to raise public awareness regarding lead in paint. In 2019-2021 Nexus3 and ICEL together with IPEN is implementing a project funded by the GEF and UNEP to promote the development of national law on lead paint elimination in Indonesia.

The Press Release Documents can be downloaded here:


271020_ENG_IPEN PR-Indonesia-ILPPWA 2020
Download • 389KB

Bahasa Indonesia:

271020_BAH_IPEN PR-Indonesia-ILPPWA 2020
Download • 402KB

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