For Many Countries, Lead Remains a Problem


A new study of lead levels in paints published in the journal Environmental Research finds that the vast majority of paints sampled in Russia and Lebanon contain dangerously high levels of lead. Most paint samples in a third country, Paraguay, had low lead  concentrations.

“Exposure to even small amounts of lead can reduce a child’s intelligence and school performance and can also cause increased violent behavior, so high levels of lead in paint are a cause for serious concern not only for families, but the country as a whole. This damage is lifelong and irreversible,” said Sara Brosche, Project Manager, IPEN Asian Lead Paint Elimination  Project.

Key findings from the study  include:

  • 16 of 21 paint samples analyzed from 7 brands of paint in Russia contained lead levels above 90 ppm (parts per million), the current limit in Canada and the United States. Fourteen of the 21 samples contained more than 600 ppm total lead content, a standard used in some other countries.
  • 12 of 15 paint samples from 5 brands of paint manufactured in Lebanon contain lead levels above 90 ppm. Eleven of the samples were above 600 ppm
  • 11 out of 15 paint samples from 5 brands of paint in Paraguay have lead levels below 90 ppm, but two brands sold paints ranging from 5,100 to 169,000 ppm
  • Two paint samples from one U.S. affiliated company, Dutch Boy, sold in Lebanon had high lead levels of 1,360 ppm and 32,400 ppm, despite being marketed as “lead free” products

All analyzed paints were solvent-based paints marketed for home use. Most were produced within the country where they were  sold.

The report is available at: Lead author on the report was Dr. Scott Clark, Professor Emeritus at University of Cincinnati (UC), and one of the world’s leading authorities on lead in  paint.

IPEN is an international network of more than 700 organizations in 106 countries working eliminate harm to human health and the environment from toxic  chemicals.

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