Kenya gazettes standards for paints to tackle high lead levels

Experts say that lead paints expose many children and adults to devastating impact of lead poisoning

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Kenya gazettes standards for paints to tackle lead levels

Kenyan government has gazetted standards for paints being sold locally as it seeks to stop the sale of products with dangerously high lead levels.

The move seeks to bar the manufacture, importation and sale of paints whose lead content exceeds the safe threshold of 90 parts per million (ppm).

A report released in 2017 by Centre for Environment Justice and Development (CEJAD) shows that 71 per cent of paint brands sold in Kenya have dangerously high lead concentrations of above 10,000 parts per million (ppm).

Environmental experts say that lead paints should not be on sale in Africa as they are exposing many children and adults to devastating impact of lead poisoning and yet there are safer, more viable alternatives.

Doctors says that Lead exposure can affect brain function and fertility in adults, can affect the healthy development of organs in an unborn child and potentially cause miscarriage, and in adult males it can cause infertility.When exposure is severe it leads to death.

Leaded paints are still widely used in  homes, schools, public buildings, toys and furniture.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and World Health Organisation have established the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead in Paint, an initiative seeking the total elimination of leaded paints in all countries by 2020.

The new standards for paints is therefore seen as a step towards this goal.