Issue 1 May 1997


Mexican Lead Industry Launches Voluntary Risk Reduction Program

The Mexican Government has already commenced the phasing out of leaded gasoline and has abolished the use of lead soldered food cans. In February of this year FONART, the Mexican Ceramics Federation introduced their strategic program for the substitution of lead glazes in traditional pottery.

On 29 April, in the industrial center of Monterrey, Dr. Cristina Cortinas de Nava of the Mexican Institute for the Environment launched the risk reduction program for the lead primary, secondary recycling and applications Industries.

The two-day workshop was organized by the Mexican Chamber of Mines in conjunction with the Government and ILMC.Over 80 delegates attended the Workshop including industrialists representing 90% of the Mexican lead producing and applications industries together with interested parties from the Universities and the Government.

At the beginning of the Workshop Dr. Cristina Cortinas had emphasized the importance of understanding the lead Industry in order to promote improvements in risk management. This was to be a recurring theme throughout the two days as more and more delegates realized the need for the Industry to establish common environmental and occupational goals, share information and exchange ideas.

Each of the morning sessions of the two day workshop were devoted to expert presentations covering every aspect of the impact of lead in Mexico on the economy, society, the environment and the effects of both occupational and domestic exposure.

ILMC presented two papers on waste management. Dan Vornberg, Director for Environmental Affairs with the Doe Run Company and an ILMC Board Member outlined the principles for monitoring and controlling atmospheric emissions from lead process plants. ILMC Program Manager, Brian Wilson, discussed the various management options associated with the control of liquid effluent and solid waste.

The ILMC presentations emphasized the need for integrated solutions to waste management and the need to improve lead recoveries and recycling rates.

Considerable interest was shown by the delegates in the ISO 14000 series for Environmental Management Systems (EMS), outlined by Dr. Anthony Muller of Booz, Allen and Hamilton.

The socioeconomic impact of the lead industry in Mexico and its importance to the development and further growth of the economy was explained by Mr. Manuel Moreno Turrent.

Mr. Federico Kunz, of Met-Mex Penoles and the Mexican Chamber of Mines has formed a small working party of the leading primary, secondary and oxide producers to follow up the ideas and specific recommendations of the workshop groups and prepare an outline plan for further Pilot Program activity.

Lead in Gasoline ILMC’s Key World Role

At a meeting in Paris last year, attended by Executive Director Dr. Craig Boreiko, it was agreed by representatives of UNEP - Industry and Environment Office, OECD, UN ECE, European Conference Ministers of Transport, World Bank, European Car Manufacturers Association, LDA International, the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association, European Petroleum Industry Association, Natural Resources Defense Council, Associated Octel Company, and the ILMC that there was a need for the development of consensus materials on issues associated with the phase-out of lead in gasoline.

An effort has been recommended to develop “consensus issue papers” on several topics. ILMC will participate on the Organizing Committee for the preparation of these papers and in addition will serve as a primary clearing-house for information related to the phase-out of lead in gasoline.

ILMC clearing house activities being contemplated range from the preparation of annotated bibliographies which serve as a guide to existing information on this subject, to the compilation and the distribution of information databases designed for countries considering revision of public health policy on leaded gasoline.

Other databases will be compiled which inventory international fuel stocks and the availability of gasoline of different compositions in various geographic regions. Information contained within these databases will be made available through the ILMC to help countries formulate appropriate public health policies.

ILMC Attends Habitat Discussion

Last month Mr. Jim Rochow of the Alliance to End Childhood Lead Poisoning chaired a Panel discussion at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to consider “Lead pollution and lead poisoning, a human settlements issue”.

Bob Muth, Vice President of ASARCO and a Director of ILMC took the opportunity to explain the position of the lead industry. He reminded the panel that the Industry has made great strides to eliminate the causes of lead exposure amongst the populations of the world. He also pointed out to the delegates that certain assumptions and claims about the toxic effects of low level lead exposure were controversial and that that greater emphasis should be given by the UN Center for Human Settlements (Habitat) on the need to consult with the Lead Industry in order to reduce exposure and improve product recycling capacity.

ILMC Board Approves Programs

The ILMC Directors met at the Annual Board meeting on 22 April to review current activities and consider proposals for further Pilot Programs. The Board endorsed the commitments made to the Mexican National Institute of Ecology (INE, Instituto Nacional de Ecologia) for assistance with a two-day workshop and any further programs arising from the Industries action plans.

The Directors also recommended the development of further Pilot Programs in conjunction with the United Nation Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD) for use in the Far East and committed financial and technical support for six initial investigative studies, two multi-disciplined expert advisory panels and occupational health and hygiene training modules in both the Philippines and India.

There was considerable interest shown in the joint venture between ILMC, the Organization for Economic Development (OECD) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), to develop the first expert system for reducing the risk of lead exposure in the food canning industry. This interactive computer based CD-ROM program will be available for distribution towards the end of the year.

The Board also approved funding for the resources to launch the ILMC Internet web site planned for the middle of the year. The web site will be interactive and the expert systems will be one of the many aids to lead risk reduction that will be available. The many databases that detail the safe use and life cycle management of lead products and lead risk management solutions to reduce occupational, domestic and environmental exposure will be assessable.

NewsCasting is published quarterly by the International Lead Management Center, a not-for-profit organization established by the international lead community in response to the need for international action on the issue of lead risk reduction. Please direct correspondence to :

International Lead Management Center, Inc.
P.O. Box 14189 Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-4189 USA
Telephone: 919.361.2446 Facsimile: 919.361.1957