Lead is a well-recognized toxicant that has wide-ranging health impacts, in particular affecting the neurological, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and haematological systems. Young children are particularly vulnerable because they have higher exposures than adults and because lead affects the developing brain, potentially resulting in reduced intellectual ability. The World Health Organization (WHO) 2021 update of the “Public health impact of chemicals: knowns and unknowns” estimate that nearly half of the 2 million lives lost to known chemicals exposure in 2019 were due to lead exposure. Lead exposure is estimated to accounts for 21.7 million years lost to disability (disability-adjusted life years, or DALYs) worldwide due to long-term effects on health, with 30% of the global burden of idiopathic intellectual disability, 4,6% of the global burden of cardiovascular disease and 3.0% of the global burden of chronic kidney diseases.Even though there is wide recognition of the harmful effects of lead and many countries have taken action, exposure to lead, particularly in childhood, remains of key concern to health care providers and public health officials worldwide.
The aim of International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is to draw attention to the health impacts of lead exposure, highlight efforts by countries and partners to prevent childhood lead exposure, and accelerate efforts to phase out the use of lead in paint. Even though there is wide recognition of the harmful effects of lead and many countries have taken action, exposure to lead, particularly in childhood, remains of key concern to health care providers and public health officials worldwide.
The aim of the week of action is to:
- raise awareness about health effects of lead exposure;
- highlight the efforts of countries and partners to prevent lead exposure, particularly in children; and
- urge further action to eliminate lead paint through regulatory action at country level.
Theme of International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week
The focus of this year’s campaign “Say No to lead poisoning” reminds governments, civil society organizations, health partners, industry and others of the unacceptable risks of lead exposure and the need for action. The campaign builds on the success in outlawing the use of lead in petrol and the progress achieved by many countries in establishing laws that limit the use of lead in paint, particularly those paints to which children are exposed in their homes, schools and playgrounds.
Governments, civil society organizations, health partners and others are encouraged to organize campaigns during ILPPW. A range of materials to support campaign activities are made available through the ILPPW website. We invite campaign organizers to register their events on our webpage so that others can see what events are happening in their area.
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