June 18th 2009
The Collegium Ramazzini recently sent a letter of support to the Second Session of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM2) regarding the proposal for a Global partnership to promote the implementation of the measures contained in paragraph 57 of the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development on phasing out the use of lead in paint [click title for text of letter].
Date: May 13, 2009
To: The Second Session of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM2), Geneva, Switzerland, 11-15 May 2009
Proposal for a Global partnership to promote the implementation of the measures contained in paragraph 57 of the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development on phasing out the use of lead in paint
COLLEGIUM RAMAZZINI STATEMENT OF SUPPORT
The Collegium Ramazzini is an international scientific society that examines critical issues in occupational and environmental medicine with a view towards action to prevent disease and promote health. The Collegium is comprised of 180 physicians and scientists from 35 countries, each of whom is elected to membership. The Collegium is independent of commercial interests.
Lead is a pervasive occupational and environmental hazard. Despite great progress in reducing lead exposure, lead toxicity remains a major health problem. Lead poses serious hazards to workers’ health and also to the health of infants and children. Recent research has proven conclusively that lead can cause permanent damage to human health and injury to multiple organ systems at relatively low levels of exposure that previously were considered “safe”. Moreover serious, previously unrecognized hazards to health are now understood to result in both adults and children from chronic, cumulative low-level exposure to lead.
To eliminate the global burden of disability, disease and death caused by lead, the Collegium Ramazzini recently (2008) issues a statement calling for a worldwide ban on all non-essential uses of lead and for coordinated action in countries around the world to reduce lead exposures through source identification, control, and elimination.
Reduction in the use of lead and elimination of environmental exposure to lead, termed ‘primary prevention’, is critical to preventing lead poisoning. Primary prevention is the most efficient and cost-effective approach to disease prevention. Primary prevention is accomplished by replacing hazardous materials such as lead in consumer products and the environment with safer substitutes. Safer substitutes exist for many non-essential uses of lead, including paint and other surface coatings.
The key to preventing lead toxicity is to eliminate exposure by ceasing all unnecessary uses of lead and to eliminate or drastically reduce environmental lead exposure by using control technology at the source. The Collegium Ramazzini, therefore, strongly supports the Proposal for a Global partnership to promote the implementation of the measures contained in paragraph 57 of the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development on phasing out the use of lead in paint as a valuable and effective effort to contribute to the control of the global epidemic of environmental and occupational lead poisoning.
Philip J. Landrigan, MD, MSc
Dr. M. Gubb, Coordinator, SAICM Secretariat, Chemicals Branch, UNEP
ICCM2 Emerging Issue Lead in Paint: Proponents and facilitators:
Mr R. Agarwal, Toxics Link, India
Dr J. Stober, Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (IFCS)
Dr M. Doa, US Environmental Protection Agency
The General Secretariat of the Collegium is located in the Castle of Bentivoglio, near Bologna.
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