Oct 21, 2011

FoE Sri Lanka wins reduction in lead content of paint

by PhilLee — last modified Oct 21, 2011 11:05 AM

Friends of the Earth Sri Lanka is celebrating a recent court victory that will dramatically reduce the amount of lead in paints made and imported into Sri Lanka.

The Consumer Authority of Sri Lanka has set guidelines to the manufacturers and importers of paints regarding the lead content of their products. Sri Lanka is one of the countries which has high lead levels.

The Consumer Affairs Authority published the standards for lead in paints in response to the Fundamental Rights application filed by the Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) /Friends of the Earth Sri Lanka in the Supreme Court.

Speaking about the victory CEJ Executive Director Hemantha Withanage said: "The standards just established are a great achievement for consumers who get contaminated every minute due to unknown toxics in consumer products such as decorative paints at home, in the school or in the work place".

The ruling states that no manufacturer, importer, packer, distributor or trader shall manufacture, import and use or distribute, pack, store or sell or display for sale, expose for sale or offer for sale, wholesale or retail any paints unless such paints shall conform to the corresponding Total Lead Content given hereunder as specified by the Sri Lanka Standard Institution for such paints.

Permissible maximum lead content Paints for toys and accessories for children (soluble in HCI acid) 90 mg/kg, Enamel Paints 600 mg/kg, Emulsion Paints for Exterior use 90 mg/kg, Emulsion Paints for Interior use 90 mg/kg and Floor Paints 600 mg/kg.

In the application Hemantha Withanage sought the Consumer Affairs Authority and others to formulate suitable regulations to compel the manufacturers and distributors to comply with the international standards relating to the presence of lead in paints considering the serious health impacts caused by adding lead to decorative paints.

Lead in paints is highly toxic. It is especially damaging to children. It impacts over 40 million children worldwide, more than 97 per cent of those live in developing countries.