According to a study by Pakistani and foreign research groups, over 40 percent of oil-based paints sold in Pakistan contain “dangerous and illegally high levels” of lead. This endangers children’s health.
The Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) has urged paint production companies to eliminate lead from their products as soon as possible. In 2017, the PSQCA implemented a compulsory standard that limits the amount of lead in paints to 100 parts per million.
The Aga Khan University (AKU) and Lead Exposure Elimination Project (LEEP) researchers examined 60 residential-use paints from 21 brands for sale in Karachi as a part of the present study.
Roughly 40 percent of the paints tested showed levels of lead that were above Pakistan’s statutory limit and the World Health Organization’s recommendation. Certain paint products contained 1000 times the permitted amount.
What it Means For Children
Lead poisoning has serious health consequences for children, causing irreversible harm to their brain development, short stature, and anemia.
It is estimated that lead poisoning from paint and other causes affects 47 million young lives in Pakistan, costing the economy $38 billion in lost wages each year.
Lead is neurotoxic, and even modest amounts of exposure can result in decreased IQ, lower educational attainment, lower future incomes, and increased aggressive behavior in children. Lead damages all physiological systems, inducing anemia, stunted development, renal disease, and heart disease.
Yellow and red paints were often the most dangerous. Paint is a major source of lead exposure worldwide.
As per the recent research from AKU and LEEP, paint is one of the leading causes of children’s lead poisoning in Pakistan. Safe replacement pigments are commonly available, and several nations have effectively eliminated lead paint. Based on the research, some Pakistani companies have also already eliminated lead compounds.