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FG to adopt best practices in paint production

By Chinedum Uwaegbulam
07 December 2020   |   4:09 am
Stakeholders have begun discussions aimed at eliminating lead use in the paint industry in Nigeria.

Participants at the two-day workshop on the elimination of lead paint held in Lagos

Stakeholders have begun discussions aimed at eliminating lead use in the paint industry in Nigeria.

The experts met recently at a two-day project in Lagos, courtesy of the Federal Ministry of Environment with Sustainable Research and Action for Environmental Development (SRADev Nigeria).

Lead is a cumulative toxic element particularly harmful to young children and pregnant women and, according to the United Nations, the continued use of lead paint around the world remains significant source of human exposure.

Under the lead paint component of a project funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and being implemented by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), 40 countries including Nigeria are to adopt new or strengthened regulation towards the elimination of lead paint.

The initiative, which borders on global best practices on emerging chemical policy issues of concern under Strategic Approach to International Chemical Management (SAICM), features the International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN) project executing partner.

The Executive Director, SRADev Nigeria, Dr Leslie Adogame, said, apart from exposure from gold mining sites and Used Lead Acid Battery (ULABs) recycling facilities, lead in paints is another route of its introduction into the environment. He added that exposure can be caused because of inhalation or ingestion especially in children.

“In a study carried out between July and August 2016, a total of 54 cans of solvent-based paint intended for home use purchased from stores in Lagos, Nigeria, analytical results showed 74per cent of the samples had values higher than 90ppm as well as peak value of 160,000ppm.

“Moreover, it has been estimated that lead exposure accounts for 7-25 per cent of the disease burden among Nigerian children, and a 50 per cent decrease in childhood blood lead surveillance could save up to $1 billion per year,” he said, adding that the economic cost due to lead exposure in Nigeria is estimated at $27.9 billion.

Adogame disclosed that lead compounds are intentionally added to oil-based decorative and industrial paints and other coatings as pigments to enhance colour, or as driers and anti-corrosives.

He added that non-leaded pigments, driers and anti-corrosive ingredients are widely available and in use in paint production as well as most oil-based paints, but that the unit cost is quite higher in comparison with lead substitutes.

The Executive Secretary, Paints Manufacturers Association (PMA), Mr. Jude Maduka, disclosed that paint reformulation using new/lead free raw materials is now more than necessary because of the need to protect paint users/the populace from the dangers of exposure to lead, protect and sustain the environment as well as make it more eco-friendly.