By Fred Kiva
Environmentalists under the National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) want government to ban the manufacture, sale and use of paints that contain total lead concentrations, exceeding 90 parts per million (ppm, dry weight of paint).
Launching the lead study report at Hotel Triangle on Wednesday, Geoffrey Kamese, the NAPE Senior Programs Officer and the in charge Energy, Climate Change and Chemical Management, observed that lead paint is a major source of childhood lead exposure. He said lead is more dangerous to children's developing brains and causes reduced intelligence quotient (IQ) and attention span and impaired learning ability among children.
The report followed a study carried out by NAPE and partners last year and early this year to assess the levels of lead in paint that's produced in Uganda.
"From July to October 2016, NAPE purchased a total of 30cans 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 analysed by an accredited laboratory in the United States of America for their lead content, based on dry weight of the paint. 20 out of the 30 analysed solvent-based paints for home use (67percent of the paints) were lead paints, ie they contained lead concentrations above 90 parts per million (ppm, dry weight of paint)," a NAPE statement presented by Kamese indicated, adding that "This is also the regulatory limit for lead in decorative paint in India, the Philippines and the United States of America."
NAPE asked "The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) to move faster in drafting and consequently in developing legislation and the necessary regulations that will ban the manufacture, import, export, distribution, sale and use of paints that contain total lead concentrations exceeding 90ppm, the most restrictive standard in the world."
The Association also wants paint companies required to display sufficient information, indicating toxic content on paint can labels and provide a warning on possible lead dust hazards when distributing painted surfaces.
"NAPE calls upon all stakeholders to come together and unite in promoting a strong policy that will eliminate lead paint in Uganda," the statement concluded.
Meanwhile, the Association has embarked on an awareness campaign in schools, on the dangers of lead paint to children. NAPE officials on Wednesday visited Kitante Hill Primary School. The campaign will continue throughout the country.
This week is the international Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action (ILPPWA). The week that runs from October 22nd-28th is marked world over.