While the U.S. and other developed countries have banned lead paint, most of the paint currently sold for consumer use in developing countries contains high concentrations of lead added to improve the color or drying of paints. Children are exposed to lead from the contamination of dust and soil in and around homes with lead paint. Even low-level exposures impact intellectual capacity, school performance and behavior. Higher exposures can cause a range of medical conditions and even death.
OK International is working in partnership with NGOs in India, Cameroon and Nepal to evaluate lead concentrations in consumer paints, work with industry to seek alternative formulations, and encourage government to enact laws or regulations to eliminate lead in paints. This project is intended to provide the foundation for the phasing-out of lead based paints in these countries and we believe it can serve as a pilot for similar national programs throughout the developing world.
The burden of environmental disease is not evenly shared. Exposure to lead from paints and other sources will impact the economic development potential of countries where lead paint is commonly used. The long-term goal of this project is to bridge the gap between environmental standards in the developed and the developing world in an effort to improve public health.