Environmentalists caution on use of Lead paints

By Drake Nyamugabwa

Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) in partnership with International PoPs Elimination Network (IPEN) have launched a report on lead contamination in solvent-based paints that are mostly used in homes and are on the Ugandan market calling for the ban to manufacture, sale and use of paints that contain total lead concentrations. The  report which preceded study done by NAPE and partners to assess the levels of lead in paint that’s manufactured in Uganda, indicates  that lead in paint is more than 90 parts per million

This was echoed by the Senior Programs Officer and the in charge Energy, Climate Change and Chemical Management, at NAPE, Geoffrey Kamese. This was during NAPE launch of the lead study report at Hotel Triangle last Wednesday. He said that lead paint is mainly dangerous to children below six years; adding that it especially damages the brain which he says derails the child’s intelligence..

“From July to October 2016, NAPE purchased a total of 30 cans of solvent-based paint intended for home use from stores in Kampala. The paints represented 14 different brands produced by 14 manufacturers. All paints were analyzed by an accredited laboratory in the United States of America for their Lead content, based on dry weight of the paint. Twenty out of the 30 analyzed solvent-based paints for home use (67percent of the paints) were Lead paints, they contained Lead concentrations above 90 parts per million (ppm, dry weight of paint),” he said

The report has a number of recommendations, including immediate formulation of national regulations to control the manufacture, sale and use of leaded paints in Uganda, and encouraged paint companies to find alternative or substitutes for lead in their products. Consumers are also encouraged to buy lead-free paints for home use.

NAPE has been participating in the International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action (ILPPWA) -an annual event carried out for a week in the month of October to raise awareness about the harmful effects of Lead to human health and the environment.

The report further says; Lead poisoning occurs when you absorb too much Lead by breathing or swallowing a substance with Lead in it, such as food, dust, paint, or water. “Too much lead in the body can cause irreversible problems in growth and development in children and cause serious health problems for adults. The most common source of Lead poisoning is from Lead-based paint and dust found in old homes or buildings”, adds the report.

NAPE calls for unity of all stakeholders to come up with a strong   policy that will eliminate Lead paint in Uganda, and urged paint companies to display sufficient information, indicating toxic content on paint Can labels and provide a warning on possible Lead dust hazards, when distributing painted surfaces.

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