Global impacts through e – waste

Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety
Global Partnerships for Chemical Safety
Contributing to the 2020 Goal
International transport of
lead & cadmium via trade:
an international concern?
List of Contents
Outcome of the Budapest Conference on Heavy Metals Relevant to
international transport of lead and cadmium via trade
Georg Karlaganis, FOEN, Switzerland
Overview of issues and concepts presented in Thought Starter meeting paper
Erika Rosenthal, CIEL, USA
Lead – Industry
Brian Wilson, UK
Patrick de Metz, SAFT, France
Lead and Cadmium: Global impacts through e-waste
Ravi Agarwal, Toxics Link, India
Study on the possible effects on human health and the environment in Africa
of the trade of products containing lead, cadmium and mercury
Kaj Madsen, UNEP and Anne Nkwimba Magashi, ARSCP, Tanzania
Presumption of Safety: Limits of Federal Policies on Toxic Substances in
Consumer Products
Joel Tickner, University of Massachusetts Lowell, USA
Implications of International Trade on the Better Environmental Sustainability
Targets (BEST) Certification for Lead Battery Manufacturers
Perry Gottesfeld, OK International, USA
SOLVING heavy metal (and other hazardous waste) crises, rather than
attempting to EXPORT AND RECYCLE the increasing problem - Electronic
waste as the example of one of the fastest growing hazardous waste streams
Kevin Stairs, BAN
Lead in Peru
Jaime Delgado Zegarra, ASPEC
Zambia Action to minimize heavy metals (lead and cadmium) in dairy
products, fertilizer, paints and other foods
Michael Musenga, Environmental Health Officer, Zambia
Outcome of the Budapest Conference on Heavy Metals
Relevant to international transport of lead and cadmium via trade
(Sept 2006/Forum V)
Dr G. Karlaganis, FOEN, Switzerland
The Budapest Conference on Heavy Metals was organized in order to respond to the
urgent request formulated by several developing countries to discuss heavy metals in
a broader but at the same time less politicized context through a case study
approach. Accordingly, the goal of the conference was to enhance the common
understanding of the challenges posed by heavy metals, the obstacles countries –
especially developing countries and countries with economies in transitions – face,
their needs and the global need for further action, through presentations and
discussion of concrete examples and lessons learnt.
Through the presentations and interventions made during the conference, a number
of common challenges faced by countries in dealing with the risks posed by lead and
cadmium were identified. These commonalities relate to routes of exposure such as
food, sites contaminated from abandoned mines, mine tailings, waste dumps and
landfills, to the importance of the presence of lead and cadmium in products.
Furthermore, trade in products has been identified as an important dispersal route.
Also the concerns for effects, especially for vulnerable groups such as infants,
pregnant women etc. have increased in recent years.
International trade related dispersal of lead includes batteries, children’s toys,
electronics, automobiles, leaded gasoline, marine fuels and waste transfer. Issues of
an international dimension of lead creating challenges include non-uniform standards,
level of technology transfer and non-implementation of international agreements.
International trade related dispersal of cadmium includes batteries, children’s toys,
fertilizers, and potentially contaminated food and feeds. Issues of an international
dimension of cadmium creating challenges include non-harmonized import/export
regulations, lack of capacity to enforce import regulations, information on content of
imports and cost effective monitoring techniques.
A need for capacity building in chemical management, lack of harmonisation between
national regulations relating to trade, lack of enforcement, as well as the problem of
waste related issues (e.g. shipment of waste from developed countries to developing
countries and associated disposal problems) were furthermore identified as
commonalities between cadmium and lead.
The outcome of the Conference was the basis for the Budapest Statement on
Mercury, Lead and Cadmium adopted by Forum V. The Statement calls for a range
of actions to address the health, including occupational health and the environmental,
impact of mercury, lead and cadmium and urges IFCS participants and relevant
organizations and bodies to initiate, continue, and intensify these actions.
Overview of issues and concepts presented in Thought Starter meeting paper
The Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) in consultation with the IFCS
Forum Standing Committee Working Group
and on behalf of the Government of Germany, lead sponsor
This Thought Starter (TS) responds to the request from the World Summit on
Sustainable Development, UNEP Governing Council and Forum V for further work to
address the health and environmental impact of lead and cadmium. The TS explores
whether the dispersal of lead (Pb) and cadmium (Cd) through international trade of
these metals as commodities and in products and wastes may warrant coordinated
international action to protect human health and the environment, complementing
work going on in other fora. The paper asks whether this trade could (i) lead to
health and environmental problems that countries cannot address by acting alone; (ii)
whether those problems may rise to the level of an international concern; and, (iii)
whether this situation may thus call for a coordinated international approach to
address potential problems.
The TS does not prejudge the answer to these questions, but rather aims to provide
a framework for analysis of published data and the presentations of different
countries’ and organizations’ experiences during the session. The paper uses the
term “international concern” to describe the potential multilateral dimension of the
risks to human health and environment that may result from trade in lead and
cadmium, and to distinguish its focus from the assessment of “long-range
environmental transport” potential that is the subject of the LRTAP Convention, the
Stockholm POPs Convention, and UNEP’s scientific review of lead and cadmium,
among other international efforts.
Part 2 of the TS frames the issue by briefly summarizing relevant information on lead
and cadmium, including toxicity and eco-toxicity, international trade flows,
environmental health problems that may be related to international trade, and
multilateral agreements relevant to such trade. This section reviews exposures to
lead and cadmium resulting from international trade throughout the lifecycle of these
metals, from primary production and export to imported products and waste. This
Part of the paper also reviews those few international agreements, principally the
Rotterdam and Basel Conventions, which apply to international trade in lead and
Part 3 responds to questions raised at Forum V by suggesting considerations that
may guide discussion of whether or not the health and environmental impacts of
trade of hazardous substances throughout their lifecycles may rise to the level of an
international concern that warrants a coordinated international approach.
International law does not provide a definition of “international concern.” However,
relevant criteria for determining whether a chemical may constitute an international
concern, such that an international coordinated approach is warranted, may be
derived from international chemicals law and other areas of international law and
Three common considerations that underlie the development of most multilateral
chemicals and environmental agreements that have trade-related provisions are
identified. They relate, respectively, to questions of risk, responsibility, and remedy:
1. Risk. The international community perceives that certain substances or
activities present an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment.
2. Responsibility. An action (or failure to act) by one or more countries may
increase the risk of harm to other countries from the substances or activities.
3. Remedy. These third countries find it difficult or impossible to protect
themselves unilaterally from the increased risk.
For each of these elements, the paper presents a series of considerations and
questions to guide analysis, based on the approaches underlying other multilateral
environmental agreements. The consideration of whether a country’s acts or
omissions may increase the risk of harm to others provides an essential rational for
the presence of trade-related measures in multilateral chemicals and waste
agreements. A widespread recognition of vulnerability to such risks is thus a key
consideration as to whether a risk to human health and the environment may rise to
the level of an “international concern.” All States, both developed and developing,
may have difficulty in protecting themselves from hazardous substances that are
widely distributed through environmental media or international commerce. States
may also lack sufficient institutional capacity to deal with the risks effectively.
Part IV of the paper presents a discussion of whether trade in lead and cadmium may
present an international concern in the context of the considerations presented
above. It is expected that the experience presented by countries and organizations
during the plenary session will greatly enrich this discussion.
Finally, Part V of the Thought Starter suggests that if the participants of Forum VI
conclude that adverse effects related to mobility of these metals through international
trade may warrant coordinated international action, then the IFCS may wish to
prepare and submit a statement of its findings, and recommendations for
international activities to address the increased heath and environmental risks, for
consideration by the UNEP GC at its 25th session and by the second International
Conference on Chemicals Management.
Lead - Industry
Brian Wilson, International Lead Management Centre, UK
Lead has been the subject of much attention over the years because of the potential
risks it can pose to human health, but lead products are needed because they serve
many vital functions in the modern world.
By far the biggest use of lead today is in batteries which are essential in the fields of
transport, communications and safety. In transport every car, van, lorry and
motorcycle requires a lead acid battery to start the vehicle and to power its electrical
components. In communications lead acid batteries guarantee that telephones can
always be used by providing emergency backup power to exchanges and mobile
phone masts. Emergency power in the event of mains failure is also provided by
lead acid batteries to hospitals, air traffic control systems and a host of other
scenarios where loss of power could have catastrophic consequences.
Apart from batteries, lead also has important uses in the building industry – for
roofing, damp-proofing and sound-proofing for example – and in medicine, where it is
widely used for X-ray shielding and for the containment of radio-active isotopes used
in the treatment of cancer.
At the end of their service lives, most lead containing products are fully recyclable.
Indeed, lead is probably the most recycled metal in the world with a widespread
network of recycling plants using proven and licensed recovery technologies which
enable used products to be recycled with proper regard to human health and the
Because the environmentally sound recycling of used lead products, and notably of
batteries, represents a substantial financial investment and significant ongoing costs,
economies of scale dictate that many smaller countries cannot sustain their own
recycling plants and so lead acid battery recycling tends to be regionally based. This
means that trade in used batteries is not only common, but essential to the recovery
of this valuable commodity. Such trade is covered by the Basel Convention, as used
lead acid batteries are classified as a hazardous waste and any cross border trade is
governed by the Transboundary Regulations and the Basel Technical Guidelines for
the sound recovery of used lead acid batteries.
In 1996 the lead industry established the International Lead Management Centre
(ILMC) to help transfer its knowledge and expertise on managing sound recycling –
and on many other aspects of lead – to countries where such matters are less well
managed. Working closely with UNEP (in the form of the Secretariat of the Basel
Convention), ILMC has helped to address lead recycling and health issues in many
regions of the world. Some typical examples will be described in the presentation.
Patrick de Metz, SAFT, France
The presentation will cover the following topics:
Where is cadmium coming from?
A review of the major sources of cadmium into the biosphere will be presented. It will
cover human activities such as ore mining and cadmium refining, cadmium as an
impurity in traded commodities as well as cadmium generated by natural processes
such as erosion. When available, some geographical information will be given.
Where is cadmium used?
The main uses of cadmium will be presented. This will cover cadmium intentionally
added into manufactured products as well as cadmium present as an impurity in
traded commodities. A breakdown of intentional uses will be presented.
The point will be made that when designing a programme to minimize cadmium
releases and human exposure, a clear distinction between (1) intentionally-added
cadmium (anthropogenic sources), (2) cadmium as an impurity within
commodities and (3) natural releases must be conducted.
The European Union cadmium risk assessment
The most comprehensive study on cadmium ever conducted, covering topics such as
production, use, releases, effects, exposure and risks and ways to deal with these
risks has just been finalized in the EU. A quick overview of the legal process will be
given and the main findings in terms of releases to the environment and human
exposure will be presented.
Cadmium risk assessment findings: releases into the environment of cadmium
The speaker will focus on the three different natural compartments: water, air and soil.
The cadmium risk assessment findings will be presented, it will analyze the relative
weight of releases between products in which cadmium is intentionally added,
product in which cadmium is present as an impurity, and cadmium released through
natural processes.
Cadmium risk assessments findings: human intake of cadmium
Following the structured process of the risk assessment, the human population is
segmented into workers exposed to cadmium and exposure of the general population.
For the second category, it is appropriate to distinguish between smokers and nonsmokers. A detailed analysis of the sources of human intake will be presented for
these categories.
Some additional information will be given to assess how this review can be
applicable to populations located in other parts of the world (outside Europe).
Trade in goods and its impact on releases to the environment and human exposure
A description of the largest sources of environmental releases and human intake of
cadmium will be made. As an example, data will be presented to assess the impact
of trade with the African continent in the several categories of manufactured products
as well as traded commodities with regard to environmental releases and human
Conclusions will be presented in terms of costs v. benefits to populations within the
developing world of using trade restrictions to achieve environmental and health
The impact of a trade prohibition on human and equipment safety, availability of
infrastructure and economic development will be presented.
Lead and Cadmium : Global impacts through e – waste
Ravi Agarwal, Toxics Link, India
Electrical and electronic equipment contains lead and cadmium besides other toxic
materials. Cathode ray tubes (CRT), alone, used in computers and televisions sets,
contain from 1.5 to 3 kg of lead, besides it being present in the solder and in the
chips. Other devices like mobile phone contain lead and cadmium in their casing,
electronics and the Ni-Cd batteries.
Global Supply Chain:
Electronic devices have a complex global supply chain. Manufacturing, assembling of
components , and marketing are geographically dispersed operations. CRTs could
be produced in China, but assembled in Taiwan and sold by US based brands in
global markets. Usage of lead and cadmium is inter-linked to this production. China,
for e.g. is the highest consumer of cadmium as well as the largest producer of Ni-Cd
batteries globally, which are showing upward demand trends despite Lithium and
NiMH substitutes. It also dominates global production in CRTs.
Waste Generation:
Waste from such equipment ( e -waste) is the fastest growing waste steam in the
developed world, growing, for example, 3 times faster than municipal waste in
Europe. 20 to 50 million tonnes of e waste is generated globally. In emerging
economies too the volumes are increasing rapidly as density of installations increase
and usage time decreases. While the developed world is projected to add 150 million
computers by 2010, the rest of the world will add more than 560 million. In India,
computers density is slated to increase to 65 per 1000 persons by yr 2010 from 7 per
1000 in 2001, while mobile phones will reach 600 million by 2011. Simultaneously
obsolescence rates are decreasing as devices like computers are used for a mere 2
– 3 years instead of the previous 5- 7 years a few years ago, or mobile phones used
for about 18 months. New installed bases are not only in urban areas, but in rural
markets, where there is an absence of any waste collection services, leading to
wider and deeper dispersal of toxics like lead and cadmium into villages and
agricultural fields. Also now conventional CRT based television sets are being
overtaken by LCD and digital TVs, making the existing TV redundant and adding to
the waste stream. Impacts of electronic devices are felt throughout their product life
cycle, and are disproportionately higher in the developing world.
Recycling and Disposal:
Most of the e- waste ends up in landfills or is incinerated. In the US (2005), for e.g.
over 85% % of the e waste was incinerated or land filled, and added more than 40%
of the total lead in landfills there. New evidence reveals high leaching of lead from
CRTs dumped in landfills. Where incinerated, the lead and cadmium end up as air
emissions or as hazardous ash. Data from developing countries is not available and
the situation there could be much worse as disposal is less regulated. In India and
China the urban poor recycle e waste, recovering only usable materials like plastics,
glass, precious metals, but exposing themselves to high exposures from lead and
cadmium . Despite all the efforts, less than 15% of the e waste is recycled globally,
and requires sophisticated technology and processes, coupled with high investments.
International Waste Trade:
Waste from these devices also moves internationally. As e waste collection has
increased in developed countries, local recycling has not. Hence e waste is
internationally traded across international borders, often in contravention of the Basel
Convention, in what appears to be a well organized international trade. While over
50% to 80% of the e waste collected from the US is sent overseas, in Europe too the
capacity to recycle all that is collected is not present at the moment leading to illegal
exports. E - waste dumping has been documented in China, India and Africa. Firm
figures are hard to come by since the trade it clandestine, but these are estimated to
be in high volumes, exceeding hundreds of thousands of tonnes annually. Waste
traders are ingenuous and bypasses any legal requirements. In India e waste, though
technically illegal to import, comes in regularly, misclassified as non-hazardous waste,
or as second hand computers, the import documents being fudged to erase
information of the port of origin. Since waste trade is a lucrative business, an
incentive to bypass the law, and hoodwink regulators is very high. This waste creates
havoc amongst the poor who recycle it, posing grave threats to their health and to
local environments.
While legislation for e waste collection, recycling and disposal has been forthcoming
it is geographically piecemeal. The US has not signed the Basel Treaty, and though
various States within it mandate collection, export of e waste is permitted. The EU
has mandated WEEE and ROHS directives, based on producer responsibility and
substitutions principles, but is unable to track the waste trail to its final destination.
China has both an import ban, and a ROHS like law, while India has issued a
voluntary ‘guideline,’ in May 2008. Industry too has resisted new laws for e waste
especially in emerging markets, even as it has had to follow them in developed
Substitution of Lead and Cadmium
With new legislative drivers, such as European ROHS, there are attempts now to
reduce the lead in solder, as well as migrate to LCD screens, which use very low
levels of lead. However Ni Cd batteries are still used widely and the production is
growing. While cleaner’ electronic devices will take time, the already large global
installed base, and the high penetration and growth in new markets, is of great
concern from an environmental and health standpoint.
Clearly the issue of lead and cadmium transport as part of electronics and electronic
waste, both through the supply chain as well waste recycling and disposal, is an
international issue of toxics in products, and needs international coordinated action
for its elimination. It in particular impacts the poorest of the poor and those countries
which have the least capacity to protect themselves.
Study on the possible effects on human health and the environment in Africa of
the trade of products containing lead, cadmium and mercury
Kaj Madsen, UNEP and Anne Nkwimba Magashi, African Round Table on
Sustainable Consumption and Production
UNEP Governing Council Decision 24/3 III requested UNEP to provide available information
on lead and cadmium to address the data and information gaps identified in the Interim
reviews of scientific information on lead and cadmium, to compile an inventory of existing risk
management measures; and to report back to the next Governing Council at its 25th regular
session in 2009.
UNEP is co-operating with The African Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and
Production (ARSCP) with respect to this project entitled “Study on the possible effects on
human health and the environment in Africa of the trade of products containing lead, cadmium
and mercury” which aims to improve the knowledge on global flow of products containing lead,
cadmium and mercury as a contribution to the knowledge for identifying measures that need
to be taken on a regional and global level.
The aim of the study is to fill some of the data and information gaps identified in the Interim
reviews of scientific information on lead and cadmium and for mercury information gaps
identified elsewhere, and in particular to address the global flow of lead, cadmium and
mercury in products. This will be done by analyzing the trade, use and disposal of products
containing lead, cadmium and mercury in Africa in order to assess how this can lead to
adverse human and environmental effects due to the release of these toxic elements.
A full range of products are to be assessed in order to be able to identify and focus on types
of products that constitute to the main hazards to health and environment. The study consists
of a comprehensive collection, compilation and analysis of data on trade and transfers of
products to Africa based on available databases and sources. The study also quantifies the
extent of the problem and includes case studies to describe concrete examples of how some
products containing lead, cadmium and mercury can have adverse effects on the human
health and the environment in Africa, but also examples of sound management of products
containing these toxic metals.
Presumption of Safety: Limits of Federal Policies on Toxic Substances in
Consumer Products
Joel A. Tickner, ScD
Lowell Center for Sustainable Production
University of Massachusetts Lowell
The large number of recent consumer product recalls of toys, children’s products,
and other products containing dangerous chemicals, such as lead, has raised public
concern about the safety of the products we use every day. Much of the focus of
attention on this issue has been on imported toys and other articles – with
responsibility placed on lax policies and poor manufacturing standards in countries
such as China for the problems faced in the U.S. and European Union. Little
attention, however, has been paid to the limitations in national or regional policies in
the industrialized nations that allow dangerous chemicals to be used in the
manufacture of such products.
The Lowell Center for Sustainable Production undertook an analysis of current
chemicals and product safety regulations in the United States as well as the agencies
that implement these laws. Through literature review and consultation with key
experts in government, academia, and the corporate and non-profit sectors, we
identified several important limitations in the current regulatory system for ensuring
the safety of chemicals used in everyday products, including:
Voluntary Standards. Consumer product safety laws oblige the Consumer
Product Safety Commission (CPSC – the main agency in charge of consumer
product safety) to rely largely on voluntary consumer product standards
developed by industry groups, and leave the CPSC with limited capacity to
ensure compliance with these voluntary standards and guidelines. Recent
recalls suggest that voluntary assurances of product safety may not always
work in practice, and that voluntary standards are not comprehensive. Further,
it is unclear whether product liability for uncertain chemical risks is a strong
enough incentive for product safety.
Limited Government Capacity. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is
charged with assuring the safety of over 15,000 types of products; however it
operates with half of its original budget and too limited a staff to cover areas
such as toxic chemical hazards, an area with less than 10 staff people.
Burdensome, Reactive Laws. Current laws and policies regulating toxic
chemicals in toys and consumer products are burdensome and reactive in
nature. The main federal law regulating the manufacture and use of
chemicals, the Toxic Substances Control Act, requires companies to provide
minimal data on chemical use, exposure and toxicity and provides limited
authority for the Environmental Protection Agency to take swift action to
address chemical hazards.
To regulate or restrict hazardous chemicals in toys or consumer products,
under the Consumer Product Safety Act and the Federal Hazardous
Substances Act, the CPSC has to undergo a lengthy, costly, and time
consuming process that must balance health protective actions with costs to
industry. Thus, few chemicals are actually regulated in consumer products.
Limited testing and safety requirements. Current laws do not require
consumer product and toy manufacturers to test products for most chemical
hazards. This problem is compounded by the fact that there is a significant
lack of toxicity information available for many chemicals in commerce.
Currently, a lack of toxicity information for the chemicals used in consumer
products and toys is effectively treated as evidence of safety. Rather than
ensuring the health and safety of consumers in the face of uncertainty by
making precautionary decisions about chemicals for which there is some
evidence of harm, manufacturers are given the benefit of the doubt. Further,
there is no pre-market approval process for the use of chemicals in consumer
products or toys which would ensure their safety.
Our analysis indicates that current U.S. regulatory and agency structures for
protecting the public from chemical hazards in consumer products are inadequate
and in need of reform. Additionally, it demonstrates that actions and policies to
control dangerous materials in products must be global in nature given their global
manufacture and transport. In the end, the problems are not necessarily about poor
practices in manufacturing countries but rather inadequate global policy frameworks
and misguided incentives that incentivize the continued use of dangerous materials
in products and their distribution in countries with limited regulatory oversight.
Implications of International Trade on the Better Environmental Sustainability
Targets (BEST) Certification for Lead Battery Manufacturers
Perry Gottesfeld, OK International, USA
Lead batteries consume approximately 78 percent of global lead production. An
international partnership has launched the BEST environmental certification program
to encourage the adoption of sustainable environmental practices at lead battery
manufacturing facilities. The program rewards battery manufacturers that meet
minimum emission standards and agree to take back used batteries for
environmentally sound recycling. The BEST Standard 1001 was developed through
a multi-stakeholder process involving representatives of lead battery companies,
major purchasers, NGOs, government and other experts.
Perry Gottesfeld will discuss the implications of shifting foreign trade patterns in lead
and lead batteries on the adoption of the BEST Standard in developing countries.
The BEST program encourages national collection systems in order to facilitate
investment in large-scale recycling to divert used batteries away from backyard
smelters. At the same time, the growing trade in lead batteries may limit national
efforts to introduce extended producer responsibility initiatives to encourage battery
As the price of lead has increased significantly in recent years, it is now profitable to
initiate large scale environmentally sound battery recycling with much greater
efficiency. As backyard smelters operate at around 50% efficiency, the introduction
of state-of-the-art recycling operations can have a significant impact on reducing the
demand for mined ore and the transboundary shipments of lead ingots and used
batteries needed to supply this growing industry.
Perry Gottesfeld is the Executive Director of OK International, a U.S. based nongovernmental organization dedicated to improving public health through innovative
strategies to reduce exposures to industrial pollutants in developing countries. The
organization's web site may be found at
SOLVING heavy metal (and other hazardous waste) crises, rather than
attempting to EXPORT AND RECYCLE the increasing problem - Electronic
waste as the example of one of the fastest growing hazardous waste streams
Kevin Stairs, Basel Action Network
Overview of Basel Action Network (BAN) activities regarding management of
hazardous substances, including heavy metals. Investigatory research into exports
of electrical and electronic waste (E-waste) – the digital dumps, a growing problem.
Trends within the Basel Convention regarding the international management of
hazardous waste; when recycling is part of the problem, rather than the solution.
Constructive concerns/criticism of the 3 R Initiative.
Solutions: Emphasis on reducing, with the aim of eliminating the production and use
of hazardous materials in particular in the electronics industry and with respect to
other heavy metal applications; International trade and management of used
electronic products and E-waste; regional and national programs necessary to solve
the ever-increasing generation of hazardous wastes, with emphasis on heavy metal
contaminated wastes.
Lead in Peru
Jaime Delgado Zegarra, President, Peruvian Association of Consumers Unions
Peru is a mining country with many mineral deposits that have been exploited for
hundreds of years. Peru produces about 212,600 tons of lead per year which puts
public health at risk in many parts of the country.
Leaded 84 octane gasoline, which generated enormous contamination affecting the
entire population, was permitted in Peru until two years ago. Lead was is also
present in toys and children’s school items, especially those that are imported from
Asia. Research has found high concentration of lead in school items, especially
pencil coverings. ASPEC research helped achieve legislation that limits the
presence of lead and other heavy metals in school equipment and toys.
Peru has no regulations on the use of lead in paint, thus some of the paint found on
the market contains lead, presenting another public health risk.
Vehicle battery cracking and recycling is a common activity in Peru. Artesenal, backyard smelting is conducted without any minimum safety conditions which means that
workers are continuously inhaling lead gases.
The health problems generated by Peruvian lead and other mines are also very
serious. One dramatic case is the la Oroya mine operated by the Doe Run Company
in the central mountain region. The mine is responsible for very high levels of lead
contamination which have had especially significant effects on children. The local
population has been tested on numerous occasions and high blood lead levels have
been found.
Another problem is caused by the transport of lead through the port of Callao which
doesn’t have a system to secure containment of cargo to avoid volatilization of the
material transported. As with lead contamination from mining, it is the children along
the transportation route that have been reported with elevated blood lead levels,
which can lead to lowered intellectual and developmental capacity.
Zambia Action to Minimize Heavy Metals (Lead and Cadmium) in Dairy Product,
Fertilizer, Paints and Other Foods
Michael Musenga, Environmental Health Officer, Zambia
Since the formation of Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)
there have been initiatives to increase intra-COMESA trade. One of the initiatives has
been to harmonise standards in various products that are intended to be traded
among member states to facilitate trade. Zambia has been involved in these
harmonization programmes through Zambia Bureau of Standards since 2001.
Zambia Bureau of Standards is a statutory organisation under Ministry of Commerce,
Trade and Industry of the Government Republic of Zambia, established by an Act of
Parliament (Standards Act Cap 416 of the Laws of Zambia) and it is responsible for
preparation and promulgation of Zambian Standards. Member states have seen the
need for international action to build capacity of the relevant institutions, including
legal enforcement, if implementation of these standards has to be effective. Hence
this presentation looks at one of the most important issues which came out during the
standards harmonization process which discussed the issue of building consensus
among the stakeholders on levels acceptable at regional level which would ensure
dairy products being traded among member states were safe with respect to heavy
metal contamination such as lead and cadmium and the phasing out of leaded fuel
by replacing it with lead replacement fuel standard (ZS 716: 2007).