Perry Gottesfeld of OK International recently joined our IPEN partners in Manila to launch the Lead Paint Elimination Project funded by the European Union’s SWITCH-Asia Programme.
The project will involve NGO partners in seven Asian countries and contribute to global efforts aimed at the elimination of lead paints. Its overall objective is to reduce childhood lead poisoning in Bangladesh, India, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia and Nepal. OK International will work with partner NGOs in establishing a third-party paint certification and labeling program. We will also provide technical advice in support of paint testing and other project activities.
We have also made further progress in Cameroon with the second national workshop and capacity building activities in April that brought together representatives from key government ministries, NGOs, and experts from medical schools and others to assess progress and plan for future activities. U.S. company, PPG, who owns the largest paint manufacturer in Cameroon, has agreed to remove lead paint from their products and to place labels on their architectural paints indicating the lead content.
The Cameroon government’s standards agency (ANOR) has also launched a technical committee to develop a mandatory standard for lead in paint. The standard is expected to be completed in 2012.
OK International, along with our partners at the Research and Education Centre for Development (CREPD), completed an investigation on lead paint being sold in Cameroon. The report “Lead Concentrations in New Residential Paints in Cameroon” found that 67% of new paints tested contained lead above the U.S. regulatory level of 90 ppm. Only two products of approximately 300 being sold in 76 retail and wholesale outlets in the country had any indication on the label that lead was present. None of the lead paint products included a warning on the label. CREPD is now working to encourage the Cameroon government to regulate lead levels in new paints.
See the full report “Lead Concentrations In New Residential Paints in Cameroon” in both English and French
In December 2011, CREPD released the results of our paint study to the Cameroon press. Within a week of the release, the Cameroon Agency for Standards and Quality (ANOR) publicly committed in the Cameroon Tribune, the official government newspaper, to develop a national standard on lead levels in paint in 2012. In addition, the paper also reported that the Prime Minister had approved the suggestion of ANOR to issue a standard to limit the amount of lead in paint and called this effort a priority. http://cameroon-tribune.cm/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=66385:normalisation-des-peinturesdangereuses-sur-le-marche&catid=4:societe&Itemid=3
Because a large percentage of the lead paint being marketed in Cameroon is manufactured by American paint company, PPG, OK International approached PPG to try to get them to stop. See the recent article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette regarding this effort.
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