The International Lead Management Center

Reducing the Risk of Lead Exposure An Industry Commitment to Cooperation

Brian Wilson

OECD Declaration

In February 1996 the Environment Ministers of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) issued a Declaration on Lead Risk Reduction seeking to voluntarily develop and strengthen national and cooperative efforts considered necessary to reduce risks from exposure to lead.

The goals of the Declaration include efforts to:

OECD Declaration

The Declaration proposed the extension of international cooperative efforts, but recognized the differing needs and priorities of member and non-member countries and called for flexible national risk reduction strategies and time frames. It promotes sustainable development and improvements in recycling of waste materials through viable collection systems and recycling programs. It also provides for information exchanges about exposures of concern, risk reduction options and environmentally sound and economically viable solutions.

The Declaration also initiated a process, which would continue to review lead levels in the environment and exposure to lead for sensitive populations such as workers and children in order to evaluate the effectiveness of action programs.

Industry Response

The international lead industry recognizes that exposure to lead can result in risk to human health and the environment, and in this context was invited to share their experience in the sound management and prudent use of products containing lead. To address the needs of both OECD and non-OECD countries, the international lead industry proposed to undertake a voluntary risk reduction action program. Execution of this voluntary initiative was placed under the auspices of the International Lead Management Center (ILMC). ILMC anticipates that the objectives of the lead risk reduction project can be demonstrated through the introduction of specifically designed Risk Management Processes and Interactions.

ILMC Pilot Programs are essentially joint cooperative undertakings that address the distinct lead exposure issues unique to each country’s cultural, technical, geographical and socioeconomic circumstances. ILMC, upon invitation from a national government assists in the identification, planning and implementation of appropriate lead risk reduction measures as multi-stakeholder consultative programs with all parties committed to reduce lead exposure. Sector based voluntary risk reduction initiatives involve ILMC and representative industry associations in the preparation and collation of materials designed to keep each sector aware of the latest advances in risk reduction technologies.

In addition the Center would prepare information, provide data bases and make expertise available to:

The International Lead Management Center Organization

The International Lead Management Center is located in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA and is sponsored by eight of the major international mining and lead producing corporations:

BHP Cannington - Australia: Broken Hill Proprietary Cannington is part of an international resources company with interests in oil, gas, and minerals.

Boliden - Sweden: a thoroughly integrated smelting and refining company for pure ores as well as complex and contaminated raw materials.

Cominco - Canada: one of the world’s largest producers and marketers of zinc concentrates and lead metal.

Doe Run - USA: the life cycle company, is North America’s largest integrated lead mining, milling, smelting and recycling company.

Met-Mex Peñoles - Mexico: one of Mexico’s main natural resources and industrial groups.

MIM Holdings - Australia: is a major international metals and energy company which mines and produces gold, copper, silver, lead and zinc.

Noranda - Canada: one of the world’s largest producers of zinc and nickel, and major producers of copper, lead, gold, silver and potash.

Pasminco - Australia: one of the world’s largest vertically integrated base metal companies producing lead and zinc concentrates, lead, zinc and silver metals as well as the various alloys and by-products.

ILMC Sector Action

The ILMC actively seeks partnerships in Lead Risk Reduction activities sharing resources and expertise in an effort to enhance the effectiveness of specific projects.

ILMC is currently working with the OECD and the United Nations Environment Program, Industry and the Environment (UNEP-IE) to assist those countries wishing to phase out leaded gasoline.

A partnership between the International Crystal Federation (ICF), ILMC and Rutgers University is preparing lead risk reduction materials for the ceramics and crystal industry.

Waste management and recycling issues are being undertaken in cooperation with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The ILMC is actively involved with the International Office of the US EPA in support of National Programs around the world concerned with the control of industrial emissions and the introduction of sound environmental practice.

The ILMC Pilot Programs

The ILMC anticipates that the objectives of the lead risk reduction project can be demonstrated through the introduction of specifically designed Risk Management Processes, or Pilot Programs. Pilot Programs address the distinct lead exposure issues unique to each country’s cultural, technical, geographical and socioeconomic circumstances and entail a risk management process to improve environmental performance.

Ongoing Pilot Programs have either or are initiating demonstration projects in Mexico for Latin American, the Philippines for the South East Asian Region, the Russian Federation for Eastern Europe and Peru for South America.


ILMC has embarked upon a voluntary program of work attentive to the range of lead risk reduction issues identified in the OECD Ministerial Declaration and consequently the Lead Industry is making a significant contribution to the progress of the Lead Risk Reduction Project.

Moreover, country specific Pilot Program activities are being implemented with due recognition given to the recommendations made by the 1996 OECD Workshop guidelines for non-regulatory initiatives for chemical risk reduction.

ILMC activities are partnerships between governments and industry cooperating to develop risk reduction strategies and tools to ensure the success of international lead risk reduction efforts which shape the policies that will govern future natural resource utilization and sustainability.

The Center’s resources provide an ideal medium for the international exchange of technical information and case histories that provide a positive incentive to risk management.

In addition the ILMC provides a focal point for an ever-expanding Lead Industry network promoting sound environmental and occupational practices.

You can find the ILMC on the World Wide Web at