Exposure to lead have devastating effects, primarily on children
Experts have raised a strong voice for banning all products containing lead, a dangerous metal for human health and the environment.
High officials from concerned government organizations, ministries, and Bangladesh Paint Manufacturers Association (BPMA) demanded a ban on all kinds of lead based products – both homemade and imported – in a policy meeting organised by Environment and Social Development Organization (ESDO) on Thursday.
The meeting titled "Ban lead paint: Update and implement regulation for all lead paint" was organized to mark the International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week 2020.
Md Mohibur Rahman, additional secretary, Health Service Division of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, said: “Considering the detrimental health impacts of lead poisoning, particularly on the children, the government is considering the issue seriously and will take immediate regulatory action.”
Arun Mitra, general secretary of BPMA, said: "There are 37 members in our association and all are producing lead free paint.”
“Lead contamination from paint amounts to less than 1% of total lead exposure. Imported toys and many other products contribute to 99% of lead contamination," the general secretary added.
ESDO in a press release said that the enforcement of the lead paint standard should be applicable to all kinds of paints. They called for a regulation to ban lead containing paint in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh Standards & Testing Institution (BSTI) set the standard of four types of paint which are used in household and home decoration in 2018. It allows a total lead content of paint at 90 ppm (parts per million).
Hazardous to human health
Exposure to lead has devastating effects, primarily on children in developing countries. Lead in blood impairs brain development of children and is linked to behavioural problems later in life.
However, lead paint is still being produced– by both small local companies and large multinationals –and sold across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and even in the US and Europe.
Department of Environment Director (Dhaka Region) Masud Iqbal Md Shameem said: "Lead is very harmful to the human body and environment. We are updating the Environment Protection Rule where we will be able to limit the use of lead.”
ESDO Executive Director Siddika Sultana said: "Children throughout the developing world continue to be exposed to lifelong and irreversible damage due to exposure to lead in paint. The government should take emergency steps to ban lead based paints in Bangladesh.”
Ishtiaq Uddin Ahmad, chief technical adviser, Sustainable Forests & Livelihoods Project; Md Mokhlesur Rahman, former additional IGP of Bangladesh Police and advisor at ESDO; Prof Abul Hashem, senior technical advisor, ESDO; Dr Abu Jafar Mahmood, former Chairman of Department of Chemistry, University of Dhaka and senior technical advisor at ESDO; Dr Md Shafiur Rahman, assistant professor, Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, and Dr Shahriar Hossain, secretary general of ESDO, among others, were present at the event.