The Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) is demanding that all leaded paint be removed from the market after uncovering more paint brands with high lead levels including a brand which has obtained the Sri Lanka Standard (SLS). A statement by the CEJ this week disclosed that after continuous research on lead in paint which is highly toxic to children, the latest results show that 10 enamel paint samples out of 14 samples tested contain lead as high as 42495 milligrams per kilogram. Paints with yellow, green and orange colours contain high lead levels.
The statement issued by CEJ Executive Director Hemantha Withanage advises consumers to only buy lead free paint during the New Year season. He said it is unfortunate that while most paint manufacturers produce lead free paint for the international market, they still produce leaded paints for the local market. He described is as a ‘grave injustice for the local consumers.’
Mr. Withanage is requesting paint manufacturers to establish a mechanism to provide free advice to local consumers on the safe removal of old lead paint and application of new lead free paint. He is also urging the Consumer Affairs Authority and other agencies to accelerate their actions to protect consumers from lead paint.
Some weeks back, the CEJ research study was used by one paint company, AkzoNobel to claim through advertisements that it was the only Sri Lankan company with lead free paint triggered protests from other manufacturers through an association that represents the industry.
CEJ said the research was funded by International Pops Elimination Network and it was conducted by Toxics link India as of a decision taken by the WHO to eliminate lead in paint. The research was conducted in 10 countries -- Sri Lanka (South Asia), Philippines and Thailand (South East Asia), Tanzania, South Africa, Nigeria and Senegal (Africa),Belarus (Eastern Europe) and Mexico and Brazil (Latin America)