Mexico Projects and Reports

Mexican potter Don Francisco has pledged to go lead-free to protect his son.

Country Summary

Up to 20% of Mexicans are poisoned by the pottery they use for daily meals at home and in restaurants across the country. Lead in traditional pottery glaze mixes with acidic foods–like coffee, chili peppers, tomatoes and lemons–and quickly enters bodies’ digestive systems and bloodstreams.

Since 2008, Pure Earth has been working with local authorities in Mexico to address the issue of lead in pottery. Pure Earth’s Barro Aprobado project is working to raise awareness about the dangers of leaded pottery, and to promote the use and production of lead-free pottery.

El Plomo en la Mesa Report

In Mexico, lead is still present in a wide array of everyday items, such as imported cosmetics, commercial candies, certain household paints, and car and electronic batteries, among others. Active and abandoned mines, metallurgy, and the lead-acid battery recycling industry are also major sources of lead-acid exposure. However, lead-oxide glaze that is traditionally used in pottery has been identified as the main cause of chronic poisoning nationwide.

Fortunately, there are solutions to this challenge. Eliminating sources of lead exposure is not only feasible, but also affordable. Moreover, it can generate economic benefits. The WHO confirms that: “The economic benefits of successful interventions against lead poisoning have also proven to be enormous. These benefits far outweigh the costs of creating a national screening program, surveillance, and primary prevention of lead poisoning.”

Since this challenge is primarily linked with the pottery sector, specific interventions that facilitate artisans’ transition to lead-free glazes, while at the same time monitor the blood lead levels of children, will produce significant benefits for both the public health and the economic growth of Mexico.

Read the full report (in Spanish) here.

Watch video of  report briefing here.

Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health- Mexico Summary

Pollution is responsible for 7.6% of deaths in Mexico. Learn more about how pollution affects health and the economy in Mexico by reading the Mexico Summary Report, based on the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health.

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