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If your paint label doesn’t say ‘lead less than 90 ppm,’ don’t buy it

Source:: Hindustan Times, New Delhi, Nov 2, 2017

New Delhi: All household paints should have lead less than 90 ppm (parts per million) and their label should say so, according to new rules that came into force Nov 1.The rules issued by the environment ministry and enforced by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) regulate lead in household and decorative paints. Lead imparts colour in some cases, makes the paint more durable, corrosion-resistant and speeds up drying.

 
However, ingestion of lead is linked to central nervous system damage, brain and kidney damage and increases susceptibility to anaemia, jaundice and hearing loss. Children are at most risk of lead poisoning because they frequently touch household objects and walls and put their hands in their mouth without cleaning them. Lead exposure during pregnancy can also put the unborn child at risk.
 
Toxics Link, a Delhi-based NGO, conducted a study in 2015 of household paints and found that over 30% contained lead levels above 10,000 ppm. The Bureau of Indian Standards at that time had set a voluntary target of 1000 ppm for lead in paints. However, the limit was lowered to 90 ppm in the rules notified in November last year by the ministry, because that is the international best practice.
 
In the past three years, bigger brands like Asian Paints and Nerolac have made efforts to bring down lead levels. “The bigger companies have shifted but it is the small and medium enterprises that are yet to bring down lead levels in their paints,” Satish Sinha, associate director, at Delhi-based NGO, Toxics Link said.

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