Participants at the 2019 Paint Manufacturing Association (PMA) exhibition have called for the exclusion of lead in paints manufacturing. Speaking at a paint show organised by PMA, in Lagos Prof. Babajide Alo, of the Dept. of Chemistry, University of Lagos, said the consumption of chemicals by industries and society’s reliance on chemicals for virtually all manufacturing processes make chemicals production one of the major and most globalised sectors of the world economy.
He said that chemicalscan pose risks if improperly managed. “The sound management of chemicals is one of the key challenges in achieving sustainable development. Lead is a versatile and widely used toxic substance and human activities result in environmental contamination. Mining and smelting; manufacturing, use, recycling and disposal of products made with lead can be used in the manufacture of paint to give properties e.g. colour, rapid drying, corrosion resistance,”he said.
Alo noted that naturally, human beings should not be exposed to lead but because there is lead in some paints, people get in contact with lead. “Lead paints contain lead compounds that are added to give certain properties to the paint. Lead paints are still widely available and used in many countries. Uses include decoration of interior and exterior surfaces in homes and public buildings, on roads and bridges, and also on toys, furniture and playground equipment.
Water-based paints rarely contain intentionally-added lead,”he stated.
Quoting Dr. Leslie Adogame, MPH, PhD –Executive Director, SRADEV, Nigeria, Alo stated that paints are sometimes categorised by their solvent base which include; water-based paint – commonly called latex paint, organic solvent-based paint – commonly called alkyd paint. “Paint is sometimes categorised by its intended use, like decorative paints, industrial paint.
Some paints are categorised by their finish, like enamel paint – hard, glossy and opaque finish.
Stakeholders have opined that the use of lead remains a huge concerns for experts. He advised about continued environmental lead exposures and the risk of lead poisoning, particularly forchildren and workers.
Accordingly, it is believed that public health and welfare is best served by an industry outreach effort that seeks to eliminate the use of lead in paint. “Where strontium is unavailable, zirconium is the closest, direct replacement for lead recommended levels of substitution are 3 parts zirconium metal to replace 4 parts of lead metal, exposure to zirconium can cause detrimental health effects, and occupational exposure limits are set in many countries.