AWWHE – Lead paints for household use in the Republic of Armenia
Lead paints for home use continue to be widely produced, sold, and used in developing countries, despite the fact that most industrialized countries banned lead paints for household use more than 40 years ago.
To protect children’s health, IPEN and participating member organizations wishing to eliminate lead paint by 2020 launched a Global Lead Paint Elimination Campaign. This campaign aims to eliminate lead in paint and to promote widespread awareness among business entrepreneurs and consumers about the adverse human health impacts of lead paint, especially on the health of children. Within the framework of this campaign, IPEN-affiliated NGOs and other organizations carried out the sampling and analysis of the paints available on the market in approximately 40 low- and middle-income countries. This study was conducted in Armenia by the Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment (AWWHE), a member of HEAL, in partnership with IPEN.
As part of the study conducted by AWWHE, 49 cans of paints of 20 different brands were purchased in stores in the city of Yerevan. Paint samples were analysed at the Forensic Analytical Laboratories, Inc. in the United States. 29 paint samples contained lead, out of which 9 samples contained dangerously high lead concentrations. The highest total concentration of lead was found in the yellow paint of the Iranian brand Alvan Empire, which was found to be 36 times higher than the limit set by the legislation of the Eurasian Economic Union.
Many countries have adopted different standards for lead content in paint. Countries aligned with the Eurasian Economic Union have established common sanitary and epidemiological and hygienic requirements for products subject to sanitary and epidemiological supervision and control. According to these requirements, the level of lead in paints should not exceed 5000 ppm, which is significantly higher than the standards established in developed and many developing countries.
The analysed paint samples were red, yellow, green and white. Yellow paints often contained dangerously high levels of lead concentration exceeding 10 000 ppm. Out of the 19 yellow paint samples eight paint samples (42%) contained lead levels above 10 000 ppm and of 15 red paint samples one sample (7%) contained dangerously high levels of lead in excess of 10 000 ppm.
Comparison of the results with similar data for 2011 showed some improvement: 2-fold decrease (from 18% to 38%) in the share of paints with high concentration of lead (above 10 000 ppm). However, the maximum concentration of lead found in paint increased from 130 000 ppm to 180 000 ppm. “Only 2 cans of paints out of 49 cans (4 %) provided information about lead on their labels, whereas the majority of paints provided only minimum information on ingredients, which does not allow the user to make the right choice when buying paints," said the expert on Chemical Safety Ms. Knarik Grigoryan.
Armenia’s law on the protection of consumers’ rights envisages responsibility of the manufacturer and the seller when providing false information. The AWWHE study has shown that oil paints for home use with high concentrations of lead are widely available in Armenia. The study results provide a convincing basis for the adoption and application of legislation prohibiting the manufacture, import, export, distribution, sale and use of paints with a total concentration of lead in excess of 90 parts per million.
Originally posted on 19 December 2016