NAPE is part of the Global Lead Paint Elimination Campaign (GLPEC), which is a global effort aimed at eliminating lead in paints through the entire chain: from the manufacture, sale, import, export and use of paint. Since 2015 NAPE has been participating in the International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action (ILPPWA) -an annual event carried out for a week in the month of October to raise awareness about the harmful effects of lead to human health and the environment. This year’s ILPPWA activities is happening from 22nd – 28th October 2017, and NAE has carried out series of sensitization campaigns in primary schools around Kampala on the harmful impacts of lead to children. Yesterday, NAPE held a press conference and released a study report that it conducted between March 2016 and August 2017 with support from International PoPs Elimination Network (IPEN) to the establish lead contamination in solvent-based paints for home-use manufactured and sold on Ugandan market.
For the study, NAPE purchased a total of 30 cans of solvent-based paint intended for home use from stores in Kampala. The paints represented 14 different brands produced by 14 manufacturers. All paints were analyzed by an accredited laboratory in the United States of America for their lead content, based on dry weight of the paint. The laboratory participates in the Environmental Lead Proficiency Analytical Testing (ELPAT) program operated by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), assuring the reliability of the analytical results. The result of the analysis found high concentration of lead, a heavy metal that is widely known for causing cancer in the paint on sale for home-use in Uganda.
People are exposed to lead in paint from various routes. Buildings painted with lead paint either on the interior or exterior have higher concentrations of lead in the dust. Children are most susceptible to exposure as they have frequent hand-to-mouth contact and play close to the ground where paint dust collects. Homes with lead paint on the exterior often have excessive lead levels in soil found adjacent to the structure from weathering and the dust generated from previous painting projects.
The report has a number of recommendations, including mediate formulation of national regulations to control the manufacture, sale and use of leaded paints in Uganda, and encouraged paint companies to find alternative or substitutes for lead in their products. Consumers are also encouraged to buy lead-free paints for home use. Read the full report here.
Why Lead is used in paints
Leaded is added to paint as a pigment and to increase durability and moisture resistance. Even a small amount can damage the brain and nervous system, and lead is especially harmful to children. Scientists have long been aware of lead’s toxicity.
Substitutes for lead in paint
Substitutes for lead-based pigments have been available for over one hundred years and titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are commonly used for this purpose. In most countries where lead paint is commonly sold for residential use, competing brands that have eliminated the use of lead pigment and other lead additives are often available within the same price range.