Over 31 pc paints have alarming levels of lead: study

New Delhi: Over 31 per cent of household paints in India still contain "alarming levels" of lead which can pose a serious threat to children and pregnant women, a new study said today.

The study by Toxics Link titled 'Lead in Enamel Household Paints in India in 2015' found that 32 of 101 enamel paints
analyzed 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).

"The health impacts of lead exposure on children's brains are lifelong, irreversible and untreatable," Satish Sinha,
Associate Director, Toxics Link said in a release.

"Having lead levels in paints above 10,000 ppm is totally unacceptable. Commitments made by small and medium enterprises to shift to lead safe formulations and follow BIS standards have proved to be incorrect," he said.

The paint study, released today, was conducted as a part the International POPs Elimination Network's (IPEN) Asian Lead Paint Elimination Project.

The Asian Lead Paint Elimination project is being implemented in seven countries (India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand). Toxics Link is implementing the project in India.

Today's report provides a follow-up analysis of paints which were revealed to contain high lead levels in the previous 2013 study as well as some brands and colors of paint that have not previously been analysed.

Thirty-two paints had very high lead concentrations above 10,000 ppm in 2015 compared to 31 paints (44 per cent) in
2013, the release said. Only 3 paints had reduced lead levels to less than 90 ppm between 2013 and 2015.

One or more paints from 29 of the 44 brands (66 per cent of the brands) contained dangerously high lead levels above
10,000 ppm in 2015 compared to 27 brands (61 per cent of the brands) in 2013.

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