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Fact Sheet: Lead

In this fact sheet you can read about the Danish Statutory order on Lead.

There is a general ban on the import or sale of products containing lead compounds. There is a ban on the import or sale of certain products containing metallic lead. Products containing more than 0.01 per cent lead by weight are considered to contain lead.

Lead compounds

There is a general ban on the import or sale of products containing lead compounds. Products covered by the regulations include glazed and enamelled products, plastic products, lubricants and brake linings.
The following products containing lead compounds are excepted from the main regulation:

  • Highly flexible parts of machinery, including cables for elevators.
  • Superconductors.
  • Priming cartridge for ammunition and boltpistol
  • Red lead for renovation of historical objects
  • Arc lamps
  • Paint for special applications – anticorrosion paint with less than 250 ppm lead and antifouling paint with less than 1250 ppm lead. The exemption does not apply if the lead is in the form of lead carbonate or lead sulphate.
  • Glass for special applications – lighting, optics, radiation protection, crystal glass and silicate glass for sandblasting.
  • Glaze on spark plugs for outdoor application.
  • Glaze on tiles and bricks.
  • Electronic components.
  • Products for research, development and laboratory use.

Please note that chemical products to be used as paint or varnish containing more than 0.15 % lead must be labelled: "Indeholder bly. Må ikke anvendes på genstande, som børn vil kunne tygge eller sutte på" (”Contains lead. Must not be used on items which children might chew on or suck"). If the package contains less than 125 ml, it is sufficient to write "Advarsel: Indeholder bly" (“Warning: contains lead”).
However, under no circumstances may paint contain lead in the form of lead carbonate or lead sulphate. There is no lower limit for the percentage by weight for these compounds.

Metallic lead

There is a ban on the import and sale of the following products containing metallic lead:

  • Hobby products.
  • Tea lights and other candles.
  • Curtain weights.
  • Products to be used for decoration, including jewellery and bijouterie
  • Security seals.
  • Products for roofing buildings.
  • Products for roofing around windows
  • Products used to repair or rebuild houses, except for houses preserved or worthy of preservation and churches of cultural historical significance.
  • Fishing gear.
  • Solder alloys for plumbing and metalwork applications, except for soldering zinc plates.
  • Casings for electrical earth cables under 100 kV AC or 150 kV DC, except for sea cables
  • Balance weights for trucks wheels

With respect to products used to repair or rebuild houses this only concerns products for roofing buildings or roofing around windows.

With respect to buildings worthy of preservation, houses in Denmark are put in different categories. The Heritage Agency of Denmark has informed that it is the local municipality that decides which categories should apply original materials and in which categories the ban is in force.

Other products are not covered by the ban on metallic lead.

General exemptions

The regulation does not apply to products to be exported, raw materials, and semi-finished goods, or used products which fulfilled Danish requirements at the time of their original sale.
The ban does not apply to products used to repair existing products.
Some products are already subject to other regulations governing the use of lead. These include e.g.: petrol, batteries and accumulators, firearms and ammunition, slag and fly ash, waste products, packaging, medical devices, ceramic items intended to come into contact with foodstuffs, and electrical and electronic products.

Lead is toxic and is accumulated in humans and the environment

The goal is to limit the use of lead because it is a toxic heavy metal that accumulates in the body. When products containing lead are discarded, the lead is spread in the environment. We accumulate lead by consuming earth, food and drinks or breathing in dust. Accumulation of lead in the body can e.g. impact on children’s learning ability, behaviour and intelligence.

Importers and distributors are responsible

Anyone who sells or imports products containing lead is responsible for ensuring compliance with the regulation, as set out in the Statutory Order.

Companies must document compliance with the regulation. The documentation can be measurements of lead concentration in their products, but it can also consist of e.g. a combination of:

  • Written agreements on demands to the supplier of raw materials, semi-finished goods or final products
  • Quality management by the producer
  • Self enforcement, e.g. random tests

There is no official standard for measuring the lead content in products. The companies are responsible of finding a suitable measuring method.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s chemical inspectors monitor compliance with the regulations and will ensure that illegal situations are brought into compliance. This may involve withdrawing the product from the Danish market, or making the product legal in some other way. Anyone who breaches the regulations may additionally face a fine or prison sentence of up to two years.

More information

Statutory Order no. 1082 of 13 September 2007 banning the import or sale of products containing lead (PDF - In English).

The labelling regulations for chemical products, to be used as paint or varnish, containing more than 0.15 % lead can be found in:
Ministry of the Environment Statutory Order no. 1075 of 24 November 2011 on the classification, packaging, labelling, sale and storage of chemical substances and products ” (at www.retsinfo.dk ).