Lead-based Paints : Are you breathing to illness?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Lead has been quite useful to mankind since ages, but over the last century, scientists and researchers have discovered the various dangers it poses to the human body.
So, what do we make of the title? In ancient times, white lead was actively mixed with oil to make the most suitable paint as required by the ‘master painters’ of that era. Lead was preferred because of the properties it imparted to the oil-paint, notable ones were washability, less wear and tear and weather resistant. Even,  till the early 1900s, white lead was used by the U.S government to paint the White House and the Capitol building.
But, in recent times, as the world has become more aware of the harms that some of the elements in the surroundings possess, we came to know the various side-effects of the Lead-paint that were used in objects of day to day usages such as household paints and toys. Lead paint is hazardous. It can cause nervous system damage, stunted growth, kidney damage, and delayed development. It is dangerous to children because it tastes sweet, therefore encouraging children to put lead chips and toys with lead dust in their mouths. Lead is considered a possible and likely carcinogen. High levels may result in death.
Now, considering the situation in India, though many major brands in the paint industry have brought the level of lead in paints to below the allowable  limit of 90 ppm, but even today in many tier 2 and 3 cities and towns, oil-paints having a concentration of lead in excess of 10,000 ppm are being sold. According to report published by Toxics Link titled ‘Lead in Enamel Household Paints in India in 2015’ found that 32 of 101 enamel paints analysed had lead concentration above 10,000 ppm (parts per million), way above the prescribed BIS standards (90 parts per million) for lead in paints. All these 32 paints were from the small and medium enterprises (SMEs). This situation has arisen because the government of India has failed to keep a check and these paints are mostly being sold by small and medium scale manufacturers who look for profits and have fewer or null resources for consumer awareness programs. As of April 2016, GOI has put up a  page for suggestions on banning paints having more than 90 ppm of lead in them.
The conclusion that can be derived from such studies carried is that we, as a community are still not much aware of the various things that affect us daily, and an initiative must be taken by the government to help spread awareness about the health risks and other dangers associated with various daily usage products.

Leave a Reply

CEV - Handout
%d bloggers like this: