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This festive season, make your home lead-free

Source : The Hindu, 14 October 2016, New Delhi

Stay lead-free is the advice that environmentalists are giving this festive season.

“As you get festival-ready, it is important that you keep lead at bay and celebrate in a healthy fashion,’’ said Satish Sinha, of Toxics Link, an environmental NGO.

He added that lead is a highly toxic heavy metal that is used in enamel paints because of its anti-fungal and durable property. But its exposure to children, especially below the age of six, can affect their behavioural and cognitive development. Exposure to lead is not only a major reason for brain damage, but can also cause death, added Mr. Sinha. “The damage caused to children by exposure to lead is irreversible.”

A release issued by the group said that lead exposure not only has an impact on our health, but it also causes considerable economic loss to the country. A research by a section of Environmental Paediatrics at New York University School of Medicine has found that exposure to lead costs India US$ 236 billion annually.

Recent studies by Toxics Link have shown a decline in the levels of lead content in paints in the Indian market.

The Ministries of Health and Environment, Forest and Climate Change have also considered this is an important issue, and issued a draft notification in this regard to regulate lead content in household and decorative paints. Recognising the importance of the issue, the WHO and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) have taken an initiative — Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint (GAELP) — to prevent children’s exposure to lead from paints and minimise its occupational exposures.

Despite the positive shift, lead-based paints are still available in the market. “It is important that people are made to realise the impact of lead paints on health and environment. Consumers should look for labels such as ‘no added lead, mercury and chromium’ or ‘no added lead, mercury, arsenic and chromium’ in the paints they purchase,” said Piyush Mohapatra of Toxic Link.

Read More at : This festive season, make your home lead-free

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