The Caribbean Poison Information Network (CarPIN) is reporting that Jamaican decorative paints have been found to be virtually lead-free.
Speaking in an interview with JIS News, Poison Information Coordinator at CarPIN, Sherika Whitelocke-Ballingsingh, said that this was one of the findings of a recent Lead in Paint Study that was conducted by CarPIN in collaboration with international non-governmental organisation (NGO) International Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPS) Elimination Network (IPEN).
“Nearly all paints in a new study that we conducted between July and September of this year, analysing lead in solvent-based paints in Jamaica, had lead content below 90 parts per million (90ppm),” she said.
This, she said, is the maximum allowable limit on lead in paint in the United States of America (USA) and Canada.
According to Mrs. Whitelocke-Ballingsingh, the study revealed that there are safe and viable alternatives for leaded paint, which are already in use and widely available in Jamaica.
She noted that of the 36 paint brands analysed, one brand of yellow automotive industrial paint that is imported into the island from the USA was found to contain 1,500 times the maximum allowable limit on lead paint in the USA and Canada.
Global Lead Paint Elimination Campaign Manager at IPEN, Dr. Sara Brosche, emphasised the correlation of lead paint and childhood poisoning and warned that failure to enforce strong regulatory controls could prove disastrous.
“Lead paint is a major source of childhood lead poisoning and there are no safe levels. We are, therefore, advocating for the elimination of this dangerous source of childhood lead exposure,” she said.
She pointed to the need for strong regulatory and import controls on lead in all types of paint including decorative, architectural and industrial paints.
Samples from 36 cans of paint representing 15 brands of solvent-based paint intended for home use in Jamaica were analysed by an accredited laboratory in the USA for total lead content.
The brands were produced by seven Jamaican manufacturers, and one each from Trinidad and the USA.
Of the 36 paint samples, 31 were decorative household paints, four were anti-corrosive and one was an automotive industrial paint.
By: Peta-Gay Hodges