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Mar. 27 Africa: Lead paint still on sale in Africa

This article is brought to you by Chemistry World.

Paint containing dangerous amounts of lead is on sale in Cameroon, a study has found. Moreover, the subsidiaries of large multinational companies were among those found to be selling this paint.

Most of this household paint contained lead at levels that could cause birth defects, high blood pressure and brain damage. Young children and pregnant women are at most risk. Other African countries, such as Nigeria and Kenya, also have lead paint on sale, says study author Perry Gottesfeld, director of the US charity Occupational Knowledge International.

Two-thirds of the paint sampled – made by more than 10 companies – had hazardous levels of lead above 90ppm. Paint with lead concentrations at up to 50% by weight were sold by Cameroon’s largest paint company, Seigneurie, a subsidiary of the US paint company PPG, the second largest paint manufacturer in the world.

None of the lead paint had any warnings, and just 8% of the paints had labels identifying ingredients. Sampling by the researchers found that much of the paint applied to schools, daycare facilities and houses in Cameroon contained significant amounts of lead.

Lead exposure is linked to attention deficit disorder, impulsive behaviour like aggression, learning problems and poor reading and writing scores. ‘The company should take responsibility for their inappropriate behaviour and buy up all that paint and replace it for free,’ Taylor says.

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