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Lead (R)

Lead (R)Lead as one of ten chemicals of major public health concern requires action to protect the health of workers, children and women of reproductive age. According to World Health Organization (WHO), 143000 annual deaths or 0.6% of global burden of disease causes by lead exposure. Every year, nearly 600000 new cases of children suffering from intellectual disabilities due to lead exposure have been found. And about 99% of children affected by high exposure to lead belongs to low and middle income countries.

Lead enters human bodies largely through inhalation, ingestion and absorption. Of total lead enters our bodies, 95% accumulated into the long bones, 4% in soft tissues such as brain, liver and kidney and 1 % blood. Recent World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines indicate that there is no known safe level of lead in blood. Lead is a naturally occurring element that can be found in all parts of our environment – the air, the soil, the water, and even inside our homes. Lead is toxic to humans and animals causing of several irreversible health problems when ingested or inhaled, particularly to children under the age of six.

These days lead and lead compounds have been used in a wide variety of products found in and around our homes, including paint, ceramics, pipes and plumbing materials, solders, batteries, solar panels and cosmetics etc.
 
 
 

Lead in Nepal`s New Enamel Household Paints 2013

From October 2012 to March 2013, Center for Public Health and Environmental Development (CEPHED) conducted a research on decorative paints in order to analyze the lead contamination.

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71 percent of paints sold in Nepal have lead levels above the internationally accepted standard of 90 ppm limit and would not be permitted for sale in the many developed countries.
 -    Green, red, yellow and blue color paints are the most likely to contain dangerously high levels of lead.
 -  Most paint brands in Nepal sell paint above the proposed acceptable level of 90 ppm and more than half of the brands (57 percent, 21 out of 12 brands) sell paints with dangerously high levels above 10,000 ppm.


Double Standard: Investigating Lead Content in leading Enamel Paint Brand in South Asia, 2011

In late 2010 and early 2011, a second phase study entitled "Double Standard" was conducted on 27 common brand of enamel samples (12 from Nepal, 9 from India and 6 from Bangladesh).

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According to the result of this double standard study, it is proved that the multinational companies such as Asian Paints, Berger Paints, Nerolac and ICI Dulux have adopted double standard products in the region.
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Same company's products in India are much cleaner than their products produced and marketed into Nepal and Bangladesh. Results clearly shows the double standard adopted by multinational companies for the countries where we do not have any act, regulation and standard such as our country and they are enjoying their business at the cost of our health and environment.


Study of Lead in Paint in Nepal, 2010

In the year 2010, all together 24 paints samples including distemper, emulsion, enamel, touch wood and varnish of different brands produced from national, multinational and international brand has been purchased from the market and dry sample prepared by painting each with different brush and scratched with different knives.
  • Almost all and especially enamel samples were found to have heavily leaded ranges from a minimum of 3.98 ppm to a maximum of 73966.44 ppm.
  • All samples with Nepalese Standard trademarked contain very high lead level up to 73966.44 ppm ppm.  The ladies hand bag does found to be contain about 381 ppm of lead. 

Lead in Household and School Dust in Nepal

To access and communicate the hazard posed by lead in floor dust in residential houses and schools, CEPHED took 75 floor dust wipe samples from 23 buildings, including 5 schools buildings; 2 hospital buildings; and 16 residential homes from Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktpur districts of capital city of Nepal. 

The samples were analyzed using method NIOSH 7082 (LEAD by Flame AAS)  at Forensic Analytical Laboratories, Inc. situated in California, USA. Forensic Analytical Laboratories is fully accredited and widely recognized laboratory by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP), and the California Department of Health Services (Cal DHS).

The report analyzed the following findings:

Schools
: One or more samples from 5 out of 5 (100%) schools contained high level of lead with about 77 % (17 out of 22 schools samples) from class rooms floor dust samples contained hazardous levels lead more than 10 µg/ft2 and even 23% (5 out of 22 school samples) contained danger level of lead more than 40 µg/ft2 . The maximum lead level in school were found 108 µg/ft2 is the single source in class room for high level of lead exposure that comes from leaded pints on the wall, desk, bench, window and door.

Hospitals: All samples taken at two hospital buildings were found to have low levels of lead contamination.

Residential Homes: One or more samples from 6 out of 16 (38%) residential homes contained high level of lead with about 13 % (6 out of 47 residential house samples) of the floor dust samples contained hazardous levels lead more than 10 µg/ft2 .
 
In order to protect the children’s health from lead exposure contained in paints and thus in dust, the report made following recommendations to be adopted and effectively implemented towards protection of children, the future of Nepal. 
  • The Government and government agencies should immediately take measures banning the manufacture, importation, distribution, sale and use of household paint products with lead levels that constitute a health hazard, and take the decisions of Green Public Procurement Policy (GPPP).
  • Paint Industry, Nepal Paint Manufacturers Associations and Chamber of Commerce Organizations should discontinue the use of lead as driers or pigments and other purposes in paint formulations and shift to non-lead substitutes.
  • The Department of Education, Ministry of Education and School Organizations (PABSON, N PABSON) should require Material Safety Data Sheets and labels indicating lead content when purchasing paints and toys and make a mandatory circular or notification to all schools, colleges in both public and private sectors to only use non-leaded paints.
  • Consumers should ask for unleaded paints for safer homes and patronize businesses that sell unleaded paints; give children regular blood level check-ups.
  • The advertising agencies, Media houses and celebrities should understand the dangers of lead in paint for children, ask paint clients about the ingredients they use before advertising and avoid supporting paints containing lead at levels dangerous to children.
 

Study of Lead in Trinkets /Artificial Jewelry

Nepalese market has been flooded with several registered un registered jewelry shops and even street venders sells the different silver and gold plated jewelry and cosmetics products. As there is low level of awareness and completely absence of any regulatory authority as well as any regulatory framework, an indicative study Lead in Artificial Jewelry has been conducted by conducting laboratory testing of several 17 types of Jewelry ranges from ear rings, finger rings, chains, tops, bangles with plastic, silver and gold coated were included into the study.

Certain types of Jewelry found in Nepalese market and mostly used by the general public have been found to be contained very high amount of lead ranges from 28 to 775500 ppm hazardous for health of people especially child bearing age and lactating female.

Study of Lead in Cosmetics (Lead in Lipsticks)

Nepalese market has been flooded with several registered un registered cosmetics products shops. As there is low level of awareness and completely absence of any regulatory authority as well as any regulatory legal framework, an indicative study of Lead in Lipsticks has been conducted by  laboratory testing of 8 several national, multinational and international products of lipsticks. The branded included into the study were Revlon, Loreal Paris, Lakme, MAC, Schisciedo, Dily, Channel and Midie. Certain brands of Lipstick found in Nepalese market and mostly used by the general public have been found to be contained very high amount of lead ranges from 30 to 145 ppm hazardous for health of people especially child bearing age and lactating female.

National Report: Lead in New Enamel Households in Nepal, 2015

In 2014-15, Center for Public Health and Environmental Development (CEPHED) purchased a total of 87 cans of solvent-based enamel decorative paint from stores in Kathmandu, Lalitpur Banepa, Biratnagar Birgunj, Butwal and Pokhara in Nepal. The paints were from 35 brands, representing 27 different paint companies. The paints were selected because 1) they were shown to contain lead above 90 ppm in CEPHED’s 2013 study, Lead in Nepal’s New Enamel Household Paints , or LEADERS´s 2013-2014 study, Lead in New Paints in Nepal or 2) because they had not previously been analyzed for their total lead content. Paints shown to have a lead content below 90 ppm in earlier studies were not included in this study. All paints were analyzed by an accredited laboratory in Europe for their total lead content, based on dry weight of the paint.This is the fourth study CEPHED has released about the lead content of new decorative enamel paints in Nepal. The paint study was undertaken as part of the Asian Lead Paint Elimination Project. The Asian Lead Paint Elimination Project carries out focused activities to eliminate lead paint from the market in seven project countries –Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. Summary of Results of Paint Lead Levels in Nepal:: Nearly 9 out 10 (89 percent) of all paints in the study exceed Nepal’s recently gazette standard of 90 ppm and will be illegal after June 20, when the new law takes effect. The highest level detected was 124,000 ppm, 1,378 times greater than 90 ppm standard.:: There has been only a small improvement in lead reduction in paints since CEPHED last tested paints in 2013. Between 2013 and 2015 the percentage of paints with lead concentrations above 90 ppm fell only 4 percentage points, from 95 percent (55 of 58 paints) to 91 percent of the paints (53 of 58 paints). The percentage of paints with lead concentrations greater than 10,000 ppm also dropped only a small amount, from 50 percent (29 of 58 paints) to 45 percent (26 of 58 paints) in 2015.::A substantial number of paint manufacturers will need to need to shift to lead safe paints in order to be compliant with the new law. The vast majority (93 percent) of paint companies included in this study produces and sells paint with a lead content above the new Nepalese standard of 90 ppm and nearly three quarters (74 percent) of the paint companies sell paints with dangerously high lead levels above 10,000 ppm.::Green, yellow and red color paints are the most likely to contain dangerously high levels oflead above 10,000 ppm. 100 percent (10 out of 10) of green, Ninety-fi ve percent of yellow (18 out of 19 paints) and 78 percent of red color (14 out of 18 paints contained lead levels higher than 90 ppm.::Paint can labels with Nepal Standard Mark can be Misleading