Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study Supports 'Urgent’ Need for Worldwide Ban on Lead-Based Paint

19.07.2006
Environmental and occupational health experts at the University of Cincinnati (UC) have found that major countries—including India, China and Malaysia—still produce and sell consumer paints with dangerously high lead levels.

The report appears in the early online edition of the journal Environmental Research, to be published in September 2006.

The researchers say that this lead-based paint production poses a global health threat, and a worldwide ban is urgently needed to avoid future public health problems.

Lead is a malleable metal previously used to improve the durability and color luster of paint used in homes and other buildings and on steel structures, such as bridges. Now scientifically linked to impaired intellectual and physical growth in children, lead is also found in some commonly imported consumer products, including candy, folk and traditional medications, ceramic dinnerware and metallic toys and trinkets.

In a two-year study headed by Scott Clark, PhD, the UC-led research team found that more than 75 percent of the consumer paint tested from countries without controls—including India, Malaysia and China—had levels exceeding U.S. regulations. Collectively, the countries represent more than 2.5 billion people. In Singapore, which enforces the same lead restriction on new paint as the United States, lead levels were significantly lower.

“Paint manufacturers are aggressively marketing lead-based paints in countries without lead content restrictions,” says Clark, professor of environmental health at UC. “In some cases, companies are offering the same or similar products, minus the lead, in a regulated country.”

“There is a clear discrepancy in product safety outside the United States,” he adds, “and in today’s global economy, it would be irresponsible for us to ignore the public health threat for the citizens in the offending countries—as well as the countries they do business with.”

This study, Dr. Clark says, is believed to be the first to show that new paint in many unregulated Asian countries greatly exceeds U.S. safety levels.

The UC-led team analyzed 80 consumer paint samples of various colors and brands from four countries—India, Malaysia, China and Singapore—to determine the amount of lead and compare them with U.S. standards.

Each paint sample was applied in a single layer to a wood block, left to dry and then removed and analyzed in UC laboratories for lead content.

About 50 percent of the paint sold in China, India and Malaysia—none of which appear to have regulations on lead—had lead levels 30 times higher than U.S. regulations. In contrast in Singapore, which has well-enforced regulations, only 10 percent of paint samples were above U.S. regulations, the highest being six times the U.S. limit.

Clark says he is concerned about children who are currently exposed to lead in their houses and neighborhoods—and for those who will live in such places in the future.

“Lead-based paints have already poisoned millions of children in the United States and will likely cause similar damage in the future as paint use increases in Asian countries and elsewhere,” he says. “Our findings provide stark evidence of the urgent need for an effective worldwide ban on the use of lead-based paint.”

Children are particularly susceptible to lead poisoning for a number of reasons, including their natural hand-to-mouth behaviors. Workers responsible for removing lead-based paint are also at high risk for lead poisoning.

In 1978, the United States restricted lead content in paint after determining that people—especially young children—were being poisoned by environmental exposures to the element. Many Third World countries, says Clark, did not follow suit, and continue to manufacture and sell lead-based paints that would be prohibited in the United States and in some other countries.

“We’ve known for years that there are good substitutes for lead in paint,” he continues, “so it’s absolutely incomprehensible that paint manufacturers—particularly large companies with plentiful resources—would knowingly distribute a product that can be dangerous to people.”

“Some lead-contaminated items intended for use by children, painted playground equipment, for example, are manufactured in countries with limited to zero government regulation on lead in consumer products,” says Clark.

Although American brand paints were not available for purchase in this study, several U.S. multinational paint companies are among the top in Asia and some Asian paint companies have arrangements with U.S. companies.

“American companies need to take a stand and encourage their international collaborators to demand lower lead contents in consumer products—including paint,” he adds. “It’s not only the ethical thing to do, it’s the fiscally responsible choice to prevent billions of dollars in future health costs and property clean-up costs.”

This research was funded by the UC’s environmental health department and division of occupational health and hygiene, with partial support from NITON Corporation for travel in China.

Collaborators in this study include Rebecca Clark and Sandy Roda of UC, Krishna Rampal, MD, of the University Kebangsaan Malaysia, Venkatesh Thuppil, PhD, of the National Referral Center for Lead Poisoning Prevention in India, and Chin Chen of the Occupational Safety and Health Center at Singapore Polytechnic.

Amanda Harper | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uc.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Organ-on-a-chip mimics heart's biomechanical properties
23.02.2017 | Vanderbilt University

nachricht Researchers identify cause of hereditary skeletal muscle disorder
22.02.2017 | Klinikum der Universität München

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>