Report Launching of “Lead in Paints: A Significant Pathway of Lead Exposure in Bangladesh”

Environment and Social Development Organization-ESDO conducted research to analyze the market situation of lead used in paints. The study shows that despite the 90 ppm standard set by Bangladesh Standards Testing Institution- BSTI, lead is found in high concentrations in different paints. This finding was revealed in ESDO’s new study report titled “Lead in Paints: A Significant Pathway of Lead Exposure in Bangladesh.” The report was launched through a media briefing on January 19, 2023, at ESDO’s head office.

This research was conducted to compare the presence of lead in decorative and industrial paints with the previous results and to ensure the phase-out of lead-based paint in Bangladesh. 63 samples of 39 national and multinational brands were analyzed in this research. Red, yellow, and golden yellow are the colors of the paints used for sampling. Among them, 32% were industrial paints, and 68% were decorative paints. All of the analyzed samples were identified to have a different amount of lead concentration.

Among the analyzed samples, 30.8% of the decorative paints were found to possess lead, containing a range of 90– 250 ppm. The rest, 69.2% of decorative paints, have a lead content of less than 90 ppm. For industrial paints, a devastating scenario has been identified. 50% of the total samples were identified as having high lead content where, for the orange color, the highest 97,000 ppm lead concentration was detected. The remaining 50% of industrial paints have lead (Pb) within and below 90 ppm. One painting from a renowned brand contained 97,000 ppm lead levels despite having a ‘Lead-Free’ logo. Moreover, no samples were identified as lead-free despite mentioning them as lead-safe. The study showed that the highest amount of lead is determined in a specific industrial paint which is alarming.

ESDO’s Senior Technical Adviser and Former Chairman of the Chemical Division, Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI), Prof. Dr. Md. Abul Hashem, Executive Director of ESDO, Ms. Siddika Sultana, Dr. Shahriar Hossain, Secretary General of ESDO, along with other ESDO members and representatives from different online and print media were present at the event.

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