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Lead in Household and School Dust in Nepal

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.