In a welcome move, Government of India has recently issued a notification regarding Regulation of Lead Contents in Household and Decorative Paints Rules, 2016.1 It prohibits use of Lead in excess of 90 ppm in Household and Decorative Paints manufactured or imported. These will now have to contain a self-declaration on the label stating that the lead contents do not exceed 90 ppm. These new rules will come into effect one year after the date of their publication in the Official Gazette i.e. Nov 2017.
Please note that there is no known safe level of lead exposure. Lead is toxic to multiple body systems, including the central nervous system and brain. Lead is especially dangerous to children’s developing brains, and causes learning disabilities resulting in reduced intelligence quotient and attention span, impaired learning ability, and increased risk of behavioural problems.2
According to United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), data from paint testing studies in 37 countries reveals that paints with high concentrations (i.e., more than 10,000 ppm) are widely available in many regions of the world, including India.3
Regulatory standards in most industrialized countries have established a legal limit on lead in paint ranging from 90 to 600 ppm. The Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint, a voluntary partnership formed by UN Environment and the World Health Organization has set the target of phasing out lead from all paints by 2020. Globally, just one-third countries have legally binding restrictions on the use of lead in paint.4
- The Gazette of India : Ministry of Environment, Forest And Climate Change Notification, November 1, 2016
- International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week 2016 – Campaign resources
- WHO, UNEP – International Conference on Chemicals Management Fourth session: Status of the phasing out of lead paint by countries: 2015 global report
- WHO – International Programme on Chemical Safety: Lead Campaign