The Kenyan government has enforced standards to terminate the production, export, import, sale, and use of lead-containing paints.
The new standards come after Centre for Environment Justice and Development (CEJAD) and International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN) released a study report in June 2017 whose findings indicated that over 69 percent of the 51 tested solvent-based paints for use at home contained over 90 parts per million (ppm) of lead. The United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) recommends a standard limit of 90 ppm of lead in paints, varnishes, and other related products.
According to a report by UNEP, lead paints are not only health risks to both adults and children but also environmental hazards. Lead causes permanent health problems in children such as learning disabilities, anaemia, and visual and learning disorders.
“The new standards will not only control lead paints in Kenya but will directly protect [the] intelligence of Kenyan children. Lead exposure affects children even at low levels, and its health impacts are generally irreversible and lifelong,” Griffins Ochieng, Executive Director CEJAD stated.
“We applaud the government for this action, however, the effective implementation of this standard remains the most critical action to help protect the intellectual development of our children and thus secure our country’s future intellectual capacity.”
The new standards were gazetted on January 26, 2018. On January 31, 2018, policymakers, Kenyan paint manufacturers, and civil society organisations held a dialogue in Nairobi regarding the eradication of lead-containing paints. The objective of the dialogue was to speed-up the implementation of the new standards in order to attain the global goal of lead-free paints by 2020.