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Stakeholders seek safer alternatives, ban in lead paint by 2020

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Professor Aliyu Jauro is the Director General of the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency, NESREA


With growing public health concern that the production and trade of lead-based paint is still wide-spread globally, especially Nigeria, stakeholders have called for far-reaching regulatory action to eliminate lead paint by 2020.

The regulation, according to them should mandate paint companies to display enough information indicating harmful content on paint in labels and provide a warning on possible lead dust hazards .

They urged the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) to completely ban the manufacture, import, export, distribution, sale and use of paints that contain total lead concentrations exceeding 90 ppm (parts per million).

Executive Director, SRADeV Nigeria, Dr. Leslie Adogame, who led the call in Lagos, during a joint media session with the Standards organisation of Nigeria (SON), NESREA and the Paints Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMA) to mark the year’s International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action (ILPPWA), also urged the governments to assist paint industry to reformulate its lead paint with alternatives.

A study conducted by SRADeV Nigeria that analysed 30 paints sampled from Lagos market of 23 solvent-based paints from six brands showed all paints contained total lead levels above 90 ppm. The result revealed that all exceeded permitted lead levels far beyond the recommended limit of 90 parts per million (ppm), in fact up to an alarming level of 129,837ppm.

A recent study investigating the economic impact of childhood lead exposure on national economies in all low- and middle-income countries estimated a total cumulative cost burden of $977 billion international dollars per year.

Economic loss in Nigeria is estimated at $16.2 billion, or 3.94 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).SRADev Nigeria, PMA, SON, NESREA and other non-governmental bodies (NGOs) are concern about the challenges facing SMEs in Nigeria include getting access to appropriate, non-leaded substitute ingredients in small quantities and at a reasonable price.

They said, some may also find it difficult to identify the substitute ingredients that are most appropriate to their particular product lines; to obtain all available information on how to reformulate their products using the substitute ingredients without devoting an excessive amount of time and resources to research and development; and/or to establish good vendor relationships with the companies that supply appropriate substitute ingredients.

To address the problem of lead in paint, SRADev Nigeria and its partners proposed that State governments immediately put in place policy frameworks and regulatory mechanisms. While importation of alternatives of lead compound should be tariffs and taxes free.

The recommendations made at the event organised to mark the International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action (ILPPWA) 2019 with “Ban lead Paint” as its theme also include that paint companies, especially the SMEs, that still produce lead paints should expeditiously stop the use of leaded paint ingredients in paint formulations.

Companies that have shifted to non-lead paint production should get their products certified through SON or independent, third party verification procedures to increase the customer´s ability to choose paints with no added lead.

They said that paint consumers should demand paints with no added lead from paint manufacturers and retailers, as well as full disclosure of a paint product’s lead content. Besides, household and institutional consumers should ask for, consciously buy, and apply only paints with no added lead in places frequently used by children such as homes, schools, day care centers, parks and playgrounds.

Executive Secretary, PMA Mr. Jude Maduka said that the association supports the promulgation of national lead paint control legislation or regulations in Nigeria. PMA in the coming months plans will continuously encourage its affiliate associations especially the SMEs sector to conform to the 90 ppm lead paint standard set by SON as well as actively supports upcoming legislation or regulations by NESREA in this regard.

For SON Head, Customers Feedback and Collaboration, Mosunmola Samuel, noted that since the organisation commenced its national campaign, some progress has been made. “SON (NIS 269:2017) has set lead paint standard at 90 ppm. But this standard is voluntary and needs to be backed by a regulation and enforced,” she said.

The Director, NESREA, Lagos Laison Office, Mr. Jacob Ayoba Francis disclosed that NESREA has formulated a draft regulation to enforce lead paint limits at 90ppm. Also, the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI) has also produced a draft National Policy on paint making in Nigeria. However, these policy instruments are yet to be finalised.

According to Adogame, “NGOs and other civil society organizations, together with other professional groups, should collaborate with government agencies to carry out awareness-raising campaigns to sensitize the public on the dangers associated with elevated lead levels in the blood, possible sources of lead exposure, and availability of possible technically superior and safer alternatives.

There is a need to raise awareness and take precautions when preparing a previously painted surface for repainting; train people, e.g., painters working on previously-painted surfaces about lead-safe work practices; and raise the needed resources to conduct such trainings. Campaigns that will empower consumers’ right to know the lead content of paints they purchase should be encouraged.


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