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A Toxics-Free Future


TBS urged to enforce standards on lead in paint to protect children

In celebrating the International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action (ILPPWA), Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) and other institutions had been urged to enforce standards on lead in paint to protect children. 

According to Agenda for Environment and Responsible Development (AGENDA), the government endorsed a standard to limit lead in decorative enamel paints in 2017 where a total lead in the enamel decorative paints eimported, manufactured, distributed, sold and used in Tazania should not exceed 90 parts per million (ppm). 

AGENDA's senior programme officer, Dorah Swai said yesterday in Dar es Salaam that currently, 46 percent of paints in the local market are made with a big quantity of lead mostly exceeding 90ppm that can lead to kidney or mental problems for children. 

"Experts and many paint manufacturers stress that elimination of lead paint is viable goal, as safe and affordable alternatives to lead additives are widely available. Paint manufacturers in many countries have developed lead free paint formulas;

"AGENDA joins many interested parties around the world includeing 33 IPEN member organizations from 30 organizations from 30 countries in raising public awareness on the effects of lead in paint and the need to control it, " she said.

Principal programme officer, Silvani Mng, anya said there are other effects of lead that include behaviour change, mental and physical impairment which are unfortunately lifelong effects.

Mng'anya added that, of particular concern is the role of lead exposure in the development of intellectual disability in children. 

"As of 2016, around 70 percent of countries had no legal instruments for controlling lead in paint putting over 857 million children at risk globally with most of them in the low income countries," he added.

World Health Organization (WHO) deputy director general for programmes on International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action, Soumya Swaminathan said that paints are supposed to be free from lead. 

"There is no need to add lead in paint since suitable alternatives are available." She insisted on calling for governments and stakeholders to work together to elimate lead paint and eventually the effects of lead.