Don wants effective regulation of paint market

October 29, 2019
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Prof Babajide Alo of University of Lagos (Unilag) has stressed the need to effectively regulate the sale of paints in the country to safeguard the health, environment and economic growth.

Alo, the Director, Environmental and Human Resources Development, Chemistry Department, Unilag, said this at the 2019 Coatings Show on Monday in Lagos.

The show was organised by the Paints Manufacturers Association of Nigeria.

In his paper titled, “Future Trends in Coatings Technology: Global Efforts to Eliminate Lead Paint and Alternatives to Lead in Paint,”

Alo said that findings from their research showed that regulation in the paint and coatings sector was weak.

The professor said: “There is a law that limits the amount of lead in paints at 90 parts per million.

“However, different studies that we conducted on paints sold in open markets showed there were much higher lead in paints than the prescribed standard.”

He said that there were many unregistered paint manufacturers who produced paints in their raw state, mixing materials that were not environmentally friendly and toxic to health.

“Because the people who produce these paints are in the informal sector and illiterate, they do not know the hazards of the chemicals that they are mixing.

“People buy these paints and use, thereby putting untold danger on themselves, those around them and the environment,” he said.

According to him, World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that African countries lose between 100 million dollars  and 237 million dollars due to abuse arising from the use of lead paints.

“We have found that the abundance of lead paints in most African countries continues to impact on the health and environment of the citizens of these countries.

“Since Nigeria has a large market share in Africa due to its peculiarities and population, we can estimate it has 50 per cent of the total amount lost,” Alo said.

He said that there were multiple pathways to lead exposure ranging from air, dust, soil, inhalation and ingestion.
According to him, lead is multi- system toxicants that limit calcium and iron in the body, accumulates in the bone, reduce intellectual quotient (IQ), increases cardiovascular and renal diseases.

He said that due to concerns about continued environmental lead exposure and risk of lead poisoning, there was a global effort to eliminate the use of lead in paints by 2020.

Alo said that to drive the success of the agenda, there was need for stronger collaboration between government and industry stakeholders on implementation of protective legal limits on lead in paint.

Others are continued awareness, advocating for adoption of newer technologies,
reformulate and phase out paints containing lead component in production.

Also, Mr Abimbolu Babatunde, Chairman, Paints Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, said that the association over the years had been facing issues of adulteration and faking of premium brands of their products which negatively affected volumes, profitability and investments.

He said that the Association tried to stay in tune with global trends and comply with quality, technology and safety requirements for the benefit of the health, environment and stakeholders.

Babatunde said that the Association had been researching and retooling its raw material suppliers to handle the vagaries of climate change and also join the global community to meet target on lead use.

Responding, Amb Maryam Katagum, Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, said that the government was committed to creating the enabling environment for manufacturers to thrive.

Katagum, represented by Dr Francis Alaneme, Director, Policy and Chemical in the ministry, said that the government would address the challenges facing the paint and coating industry to position the country on the path of industrial growth. (NAN)

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