Solve pollution. Save lives. Protect the planet.

Córdoba #234, Roma Norte, Cuauhtémoc, Ciudad de México.
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Our Team
DANIEL ESTRADA

Country Director
[email protected]

JESUS MALDONADO

Director of Operations

CARMINA JURE CADERÓN

Institutional Development Coordinator

NETZY PERALTA

Operations Coordinator

Pure Earth Mexico

Pure Earth developed the country program Barro Aprobado to eradicate the use of lead glazes in Mexican pottery. We work closely with potter communities, restaurateurs, companies, and opinion leaders to protect this ancient tradition and find sustainable solutions for lead-poisoning prevention in Mexico.

The challenge

Lead poisoning in Mexico is a major problem. It affects many aspects of society. According to the 2019 National Health Study, ENSANUT, almost 20 percent of children have lead levels in blood at dangerous levels. In some states close to 50 percent are affected. It is the poor who suffer the most. Lead at these levels causes permanent brain damage in babies.

The implications are extraordinary: a loss of intelligence (3 to 5 IQ points), a loss of educational attainment on average of about one year; an increase in cardiovascular disease and substantially more deaths from stroke and heart attack, an increase in kidney disease, and an increase in violent crime.

Leaded Pottery

In Mexico, the main source of lead poisoning is the glaze used in artisanal Mexican pottery. These pots, an iconic Mexican tradition, are usually made in small, family-run kilns, often by indigenous communities. The lead is used in the glaze to prevent liquids from leaching and to give color and shine. Lead poisoning is a serious problem in the homes of these artisans as well as their customers, where very high levels of lead in soil and blood can be found.

The solution is straightforward. They can transition to using lead-free glaze, which is similarly priced and has a similar appearance. Training is needed to change to that glaze, as there are important differences in technique, and changes in glaze sourcing. Some kilns may need to be upgraded, and the areas surrounding the converted kilns need to be remediated.

There are around 10,000 small and medium-sized industries making Mexican pottery. Converting them to be lead-free requires a concerted effort from many sectors.

Lead-Free Food Alliance

A multi sector concerted effort

The Lead-Free Food Alliance is an initiative launched by the Pure Earth Mexico organization within the Protecting Every Child’s Potential program, supported by the Clarion Foundation. Companies, organizations, academic institutions, and the government work together to create awareness in Mexico about the importance of eliminating lead from Mexican food to benefit the physical and intellectual development of Mexican children. One year after its launch, more than 20 institutions have already joined the alliance.  Visit the Alliance Web Page (Spanish)

Barro Aprobado

Barro Aprobado is a Pure Earth Mexico program to support pottery communities to change to a lead-free production. We offer sustainable solutions that address lead poisoning as an urgent health issue. We also work to promote traditional pottery as one of Mexico’s most important cultural heritages.

The Barro Aprobado program includes technical support to potters, commercial and financial training for traditional pottery workshops, development of women-based pottery communities, recognition of restaurants that use lead-free pottery, and a directory of lead-free potters in Mexico.

 

Visit the Barro Aprobado Web Page

Mexican Pottery

Awareness Campaign

#SinPlomoEnlaMesa  /  #Lad-FreeTable

Pure Earth Mexico launches the first edition of the annual campaign #SinPlomoEnLaMesa to raise awareness of the importance of lead-poisoning prevention actions and the benefits of lead-free pottery.
Over ten corporate allies supported the campaign with in-kind donations and lead-poisoning awareness messages to their clientele.

Visit #SinPlomoEnLaMesa web page


Pure Earth’s Kitchen

Ancestral recipes and everyday classics  using traditional pottery and spices  for lead-free cuisin

 

PureEarth Kitchen Cook Book

Pure Earth’s Kitchen is a cookbook of Mexican and Indian cuisine with 50 recipes that call for lead-free clay and spices. Contributors to this book spanned thirteen chefs, two cooks, one turmeric producer, and seven potters from Pure Earth’s Circle of Women project. They come from countries as diverse as Mexico, India, France, USA, Singapore, and Germany.  Above all, this cookbook highlights the rich materials given to us by the natural world– clay in Mexico and spices in India– to honor heritage and make healthy, delicious food. It also invites us to join the global movement to stop lead pollution and poisoning. We hope that you enjoy this global effort to preserve tradition and create a healthier world.     Visit Pure Earth’s Kitchen web page

Featured Stories

Hope begins with lead solutions

Boy with pottery cohuecan Mex

 

Education begins with lead solutions

Having available schools and effective learning programs will not result in quality education if children are unable to learn due to cognitive impairment produced by Lead Poisoning. Studies show that lead levels in blood of more than 5 micrograms per deciliter are associated to an IQ loss of more than 5 points.

 

Development begins with lead solutions

Lead poisoning is passed from one generation to the next. If toxic lead levels continue in the environment, families will continue to suffer from lead poisoning-related problems. This will continue to affect their ability to develop and reach their full potential, thus perpetuating the poverty cycle. Lead poisoning affects lives and has an impact on the national economy.

 

Protection begins with lead solutions

Lead poisoning in children can produce behavioral disorders that are often related to, sometimes aggressive, disciplinary measures.  This is more common in low-income communities where lead poisoning is more frequent, and lack of health services prevent from proper diagnosis and treatment.

 

Helath begins with lead solutions

Premature brain aging, anemia, kidney damage, cardiovascular disease, and harm to pregnant women and developing children are health issues related to Lead Poisoning. Health services that do not test blood for lead poisoning are providing inadequate treatment that is costly and ineffective.

 

Advocacy begins with lead solutions awareness

Lead Poisoning is still an invisible problem in many developing communities. The lack of awareness and advocacy result in limited prevention programs, low solutions reinforcement, restricted political actions, and limited support. Without a strong common voice, that spurs immediate and effective action and sustainable measures, lead poisoning will continue to affect thousands of people. The key is better prevention to reduce the need of correction. The key is to enforce existing law to assess further legislation. The key is public and private engagement.

 

Is not about using less, is about using better. The key to sustainable transformation

Only 1% of all pottery in Mexico is lead-free! There are technical, cultural, and commercial issues that need to be considered for an effective solution. Pure Earth has over 15 years of experience developing a sustainable transformation.

 

Partners and Donors

Clarios Kids

A new generation comes together for Lead Solutions

Clarios Kids

August 5, 2022. Mexico. Children from pottery communities tell children from Clarios personnel about the pottery process and the importance of using lead-free pottery.

Lead poisoning affects the development and health of 800 million children worldwide. In Mexico, the main source of contamination comes from food prepared in clay pots enameled with lead. For this reason, Pure Earth México and Clarios -during the Clarios Kids event this past August 5, achieved a bridge of communication for children where girls and boys from pottery communities told how traditional Mexican pottery is made and the actions that are taken to achieve lead-free products. Thus, new generations join this cause.

Sofía, Carolina, Edgar, and Samuel told step by step how pottery works in their family. They invited them to their homes and their workshops where they showed with great joy how they play, have fun, and express themselves. In addition, they told us how important it is for them to protect the tradition and at the same time prevent lead from reaching other children.
Events like this one help more people, especially girls and boys, learn not only about the problems caused by lead poisoning but also about the solution that has been taking place in Mexico for 15 years. At the same time, they learn to value traditional Mexican pottery which is the livelihood of thousands of families.

Programmatic Solutions

Research on Lead Sources
Research on Lead Sources

In Mexico, the primary source of lead is lead-glazed pottery; we constantly measure blood lead levels and interview people with high Blood Lead Levels to identify other possible sources of lead.

Toxic Site Assessments
Toxic Site Assessments

The TSIP program was active in Mexico from 2012 until 2018, with the rapid assessment of more than 150 sites reviewed on Pollution.org.

Lead Remediation Program
Lead Remediation Program

We promote lead remediation through clean-ups of potter studies that no longer use lead-based glazes. We encourage communities to replace lead-glazed pottery with lead-free pottery in their restaurants, stores, and houses.

Advocacy and Campaigns
Advocacy and Campaigns

We work in coordination with the General Health Council to eliminate the use of lead-glazed pottery in Mexico.

Events

First Anniversary of the Lead-Free Food Alliance

October 27, 2022

We present the achievements of the Lead-Free Food Alliance during its first-anniversary event, within the framework of the 10th International Week for the Prevention of Lead Poisoning. The results of the Sin Plomo en la Mesa Campaign were also presented. This way we report back the impact that the entire Alliance has achieved to prevent lead poisoning in children.

Visit the event Web Page