Stakeholders seek regulation, ban on lead paints
One of Nigeria’s leading groups, the Sustainable Research and Action for Environmental Development (SRADev) has urged the Federal Government to draft a regulation that would ban the manufacture, import, distribution, sale and the use of paints that contain total lead concentration exceeding 90ppm, which is the global standard.
The organization also demands that the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA require paint companies to display sufficient information indicating harmful content on paint labels such as solvents and provide a strong warning on possible lead dust hazards when disturbing painted surfaces.
Lead is a toxic metal found in some paint to give it colour, reduce corrosion on metal surfaces and help paints dry speedily. However, recent research by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other bodies has shown that lead exposure reduces intelligence/ causes mental retardation and accounted for about $134.7billion of economic loss while statistics equally revealed that lead poisoning accounts for about zero point six per cent of the global burden of disease.
Speaking at the National briefing on Lead in solvent-based paints study report themed “ Ban Lead Paint” in Lagos, the Executive Director SRADev Nigeria, Leslie Adogame posited that in the resolve to move forward chemical management issues in Nigeria, paint producers that still manufacture lead paint should be made to expeditiously stop the use of leaded paint ingredients in their formulation.
Specifically he declared that paint companies that have shifted to non-lead paint production should get their products certified through independent third party verification procedures to increase the customers’ ability to choose paints with no added lead.
Adogame explained that the consumers should take their destiny in their hands by demanding paints with no added lead from manufacturers and retailers as well as full disclosure of paint products lead content.
He said household and institutional consumers should ask for, consciously buy and apply only paints with no lead added in places frequently used by children such as in homes, day care centres, parks and playgrounds.
According to him, public health group, Civil Society and Non-governmental Organizations should support, collaborate with government agencies to carry out awareness-raising campaign aimed at sensitizing the public on the dangers associated with elevated levels in the blood, possible sources of lead exposure, and availability of possible technical superior and alternatives to the use of leaded paints.
“All stakeholders should come together and unite in promoting a strong policy that would eliminate lead paint in Nigeria. They are encouraged to foster voluntary initiatives by paint manufacturers, importers of paints and paint chemicals and vendors to phase out the use of lead compounds in their products, even before any national legal instrument is adopted or enforced on the industry. Lead exposure is now known to be associated with lower vocabulary and grammatical reasoning scores, poorer eye-to-hand coordination and lower class standing in high”, he stated.
In his remarks, a Deputy Director in the Federal Ministry of Environment, Oyewole Asaolu Amuda observed that the report would no doubt provide a basis for policy formulation and development of a regulatory framework for the complete elimination of lead in decorative paints and paint used in Nigeria.
Amuda, an engineer in the Pollution Control Department of the Ministry said lead is cumulative toxicants that affect multiple body systems in which young children are particularly vulnerable as they absorb 4-5times as much as ingested lead as adults from a given source.
“This report has shown that most paints in Nigeria market have high concentration of lead. This calls for an urgent action by all stakeholders to adopt and be ready to enforce regulations that will totally ban the manufacture, distribution and use of paints with total lead concentration greater than 90ppm”.
Also contributing the Deputy Quality Manager of the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON); Attahiru Stephen, representative from the Lagos State Ministry of Environment; Idris Faad and the Executive Secretary of the Paint Manufacturer Association of Nigeria; Mr. Jude Maduka submitted that all hands must be on deck to protect the people from the adverse effects of leaded paints in Nigeria.
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