Day: July 17, 2006

Lead in Paint, why???

1940-11_White_Lead_Paint.JPGThis makes my head explode, once again, science is helpless when faced with inertia, and greed. Lead-based paint has been banned in the US since 1978, and if this story is any indication, we’re still seeing the effects of peeling paint. But this bit of research from the University of Cincinnati suggests that not only is lead-based paint being used in more than half the world, it is actually legal.

Study Supports ‘Urgent’ Need for Worldwide Ban on Lead-Based Paint

Environmental and occupational health experts at the University of Cincinnati (UC) have found that major countries—including India, China and Malaysia—still produce and sell consumer paints with dangerously high lead levels.

Why would anyone need to use lead-based paint when alternatives have been available for the longest time, the health effects of lead, especially on children, are very well known, and there is no @#$%^&*# reason other than greed and unwillingness to change. What is the point of all these years of research if it makes no difference at all to the bulk of the world’s population? Depressing.

Guess what, even if lead-based paint was banned today, it’s still going to be on the walls forever. As the paint peels, kids will be exposed, have lowered IQ, and all other kinds of health issues for as long as that house is standing, which in India could be a 100 years.

Grassroots organizing is probably needed, and if effective, the stuff will be banned in India quickly, the government does move rapidly on these kinds of easy to legislate issues. But, enforcement will be lax, and awareness will lag, which means we are looking at (my rough guess) at least 20 years more of this issue.

Once again, the absence of a ban and its implementation affects the poor and uneducated disproportionately. The way I see it happening in India is

  1. Some grassroots awareness, media stories, etc.
  2. A furore that lasts about a week, before the next big story comes along
  3. Maybe a government action that will “ban” lead-based paint
  4. The middle class and above are now aware that they can use titania based paints, so, a quick change for them.
  5. Everyone else is still stuck with the lead-based paint.

And this does not even begin to address what the US is going through now, aging houses, peeling paint, poor people being exposed to dangerous levels of lead.

The world ain’t very fair…