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Painting your house with poison?

delhi Updated: Sep 13, 2007 02:15 IST
Avishek G Dastidar
Avishek G Dastidar
Hindustan Times
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Most of the “colourful” offerings from the leading paint brands in India are loaded with lead, which quietly plays havoc with the health of your family, especially children.

Lead is added to paint to make it durable. Eventually it poisons the air inside the house and also the soil around, says a new study. “Globally, paints are a known source of exposure to this killer (lead). Western countries have stringent norms for the amount of lead that can be put in paint. In India, the norm is only voluntary,” said Abhay Kumar of the NGO Toxics Link, which carried out the study.

Sixty-nine samples were collected from Delhi and Mumbai and tested at labs in India and the US. More than 60 per cent of such paints had several times more lead than the limit prescribed by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). The BIS puts the limit at 0.1 per cent. “Almost all samples of oil-based enamel paints had more than 1 per cent and up to a whopping 14 per cent of lead,” Kumar said.

Exposure to lead can affect the physical and mental development of children. Among adults, a rise in blood pressure is inevitable.

Paint manufacturers are aware of the problem. NK Bhatia, president of Indian Paints Association, said, “We know how toxic lead can be. But the alternatives to lead make the products costlier.”