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Lead Exposure Elimination Project

The Lead Exposure Elimination Project (LEEP) is a nonprofit organization that advocates for regulation of lead paint in low-income countries. 

LEEP launched in October 2020 with the help of a $60,000 incubation grant by Charity Entrepreneurship.[1]

Since being founded, six of LEEP's government partners (Malawi, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Pakistan and Ghana) have committed to increasing regulations regarding lead paints.[2] 



In November 2020 LEEP began investigating the concentration of lead in Malawi solvent-based paints. [3]

Results showed that 57% of paints and 75% of brands analysed contained dangerously high levels of lead (greater than 90ppm, the maximum level recommended by the WHO). 52% of paints had lead content greater than 600ppm and 9% had a lead content greater than 10,000ppm The highest lead content of the paints analysed was 17,000ppm."

LEEP's findings resulted in a commitment by the Malawi Bureau of Standards to implement a ban on lead paint. [4]A follow up study was published in December 2023:

LEEP and the Malawi Bureau of Standards conducted a new study to assess recent changes in lead paint levels in Malawi. Taking into account estimated market share data, the results suggest that the market share of brands selling lead paint for home use has reduced from approximately 67% in 2021 to 24% in 2023.

The main driver of this reduction was that the study did not detect lead in the samples from Malawi’s most popular paint brand, which previously had high levels of lead. This brand is estimated to have approximately 45% of market share, and the study results suggest that it has switched to lead-free following LEEP’s engagement.

In 2021 LEEP carried out a similar investigation in Botswana during February of 2021, however "results showed that none of the paints analysed in Botswana contained greater than 100ppm of lead." The research did note that it was unclear whether the relevant paints were below the recommended limit of 90ppm.[3]



Beginning in June 2021, LEEP (in cooperation with the government of Madagascar) began a study to determine the lead content of available paints in Madagascar.[5] 

This study found that 36 out of 59 paints sampled (61%) contained dangerous levels of lead (with a total lead concentration above 90 parts per million, ppm, by dry weight). 26 samples (44%) contained total lead concentrations above 600ppm. The highest lead content detected—measured in two samples— was 10,000ppm, which is over 110 times the recommended limit.

According to LEEP, the Malagasy government has begun steps to regulate the sale, manufacture and importation of lead paint. 



A cost-effectiveness analysis by LEEP estimates that their intervention to implement lead paint regulation in Malawi has a cost per disability-adjusted life-year of approximately $14.[6]


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