KATHMANDU: A week-long International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action began from Sunday with an aim of making effective implementation of lead paint standards.
Lead paint, a major source of childhood lead exposure, can cause permanent and irreversible brain damage among the children.
Lead exposure globally accounted for 540, 000 deaths and 13.9 million for disability due to long-term effects on health, with highest burden in the developing regions.
About 857 million children worldwide are at the risk of lead exposure and 65 to 100 per cent are under high risk of lead exposure in Nepal.
The study conducted by Nepal Health Research Council (NHRC) has found an elevated level of lead in Nepalese children.
Over 65 per cent of the Nepalese children have more than 5 microgram/deciliter of blood lead level that calls for immediate response of BLL Abatement programme from Ministry of Health and Population, Government urgent needs for the health communities to prepare and response to this problem, said Dr. Meghnath Dhimal, Research Officer at NHRC.
Ram Charitra Sah, executive director and environment scientist of CEPHED, said that series of lead paint studies in Nepal revealed that the amount of lead content in the paint produced, imported, marketed and used in Nepal has decreased.
The compliance monitoring of lead paint standard carried out by Ministry of Forest and Environment (MOFE) in the year 2016 showed only 30 per cent paints comply with the standard.
However, similar study carried out by CEPHED in 2017 and 2018 of 56 enamel paint samples from 27 paint industries shows increased compliance of lead paint standard by 60 per cent of paints over earlier MOFE“s.
This is a very remarkable achievement by the paints industries in Nepal and however needs to be continued improvement towards reaching 100 per cent full compliance, he said.
Bhupendra Sharma, Environment Inspector at of Department of Environment, said that research indicates that legislation alone is not enough to keep children safe. Not only should regulation set total lead limits below 90 ppm in all paints, but enforcement and monitoring are essential.
Mohan Katuwal, Senior Vice President, Federation of Small and Cottage Industry Nepal, applauded the efforts of paints industries moving towards lead free achieved higher rate of compliance than previous years.
Prem Lal Maharjan, President of National Consumer Protection Forum, said that it is illegal and unethical to do mal-advertisement about products and practices that caused health damage and environmental degradation.
Madav Timilsena, President of Consumer Rights Investigation Forum, said that no industries and enterprises advertise their substandard, low quality and quantity paints and other products so as to damage the public health.
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