Over 73% of house paints found to have excessive lead: Study
More than 73% of household decorative paints, collected from several regions across the capital, were found containing exceedingly high levels of lead content in a recent study conducted by Toxic Links — a Delhi-based NGO in association with International POPS Elimination Network (IPEN).
Findings are alarming as lead — exposure to which is known to harm a child’s brain development and cause behavioral change in kids — at high levels of exposure can do irreversible damage to the brain and central nervous system. The study also found that most of the violations were in the paints produced by small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs).
Overall, 11 out of 15 paints from 13 different brands that were analysed, contained exceedingly high lead levels. The can labels of these 11 paints also did not have any consumer information about lead content.
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has set the mandatory lead limits of 90ppm in household paints which will come into effect next month. But the disparity between standards and reality is huge as unusually high lead concentrations, i.e. above 10,000ppm was found in six paint samples. The highest lead concentration detected was a staggering 74,200ppm in a yellow paint sold in Delhi. The main victims of these violations are children who ingest or inhale lead through exposure to dust or soil contaminated with lead-based paint.
“The health impacts of lead exposure on young children’s intelligence are lifelong, irreversible and untreatable,” said Satish Sinha, associate director, Toxics Link.
The study also shows high lead levels are found mostly in paints produced by small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs). At the same time, low lead content was found in one sample which indicates SMEs can have the potential to make lead safe paints. The report was released as a part of worldwide activities to mark the International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action.