High Lead Levels Found in Consumer Paints Manufactured and Sold in Lebanon

(Beirut, Lebanon) A new study of lead levels in paints published in the journal Environmental Research today finds that the vast majority of paints sampled in Lebanon contain dangerously high levels of lead. 

“Exposure to even small amounts of lead can reduce a child’s intelligence and school performance and can also impact the central nervous system and cause increased violent behavior, so high levels of lead in paint are a cause for serious concern not only for families, but the country as a whole. This damage is lifelong and irreversible,” said Naji Kodeih, IndyACT, which participated in the study and collected paint samples for the analysis.

Key findings from the study include:

12 of 15 paint samples from 5 brands of paint manufactured in Lebanon contain lead levels above 90 ppm, the current limit in Canada and the United States. Eleven of the samples were above 600 ppm, a standard used in many other countries. All of the paints were solvent-based paints marketed for home use

At least one paint sample from all five brands analyzed had exceedingly high lead levels

Tinol yellow paint – 236,000 ppm

Sipes yellow paint – 135,000 ppm & Sipes red paint – 27,700 ppm

Noula yellow paint – 58,000 ppm & Noula red paint – 45,600 ppm

Omega red paint – 131,000 ppm & Omega yellow paint – 83,800 ppm

Dutch Boy red paint – 32,000 ppm

Some paints from brands with labels that claimed the paint to be “lead free” or “free of lead” actually contained very high lead levels. (Dutch Boy red – 32,400 ppm; Tinol yellow – 236,000 ppm)

All paints analyzed were manufactured and purchased in Lebanon. Three of the brands – Tinol, Noula and Omega – are Lebanese companies. Sipes is an Egyptian company and Dutch Boy is affiliated with the U.S. Corporation, Sherwin Williams.

Painted surfaces deteriorate with time or when disturbed, and lead from the paint then contaminates household dust and soils surrounding the home. Children ingest lead from dusts and soils during normal hand to mouth behavior. Damage to children’s intelligence and mental development occurs, even when there are no obvious or clinical signs of lead poisoning. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) no safe level of lead exposure can be determined.  

Complete results for Lebanon, please find attached or check this link: Total lead Concentration (ppm) in new enamel architectural paints purchased in Lebanon.

The Lebanese results were part of a three country study of lead in paint that also included paint sampling and analysis in Paraguay and Russia. Three colors (red, white, yellow) were sampled from 5 to 7 popular paint brands in each country. These colors were selected because previous studies have shown that yellow paints tend to have the highest concentrations of lead and white paints have the lowest. High levels of lead were also found in paints sold in those countries. The complete report can be found at: http://authors.elsevier.com/a/1QijV3Ao5b5gX ; [ Environmental Research]. Samples were collected and shipped to University of Cincinnati in the United States, according to protocols developed by Dr. Scott Clark, lead author on the Environmental Research article, Professor Emeritus at University of Cincinnati (UC), and one of the world’s leading authorities on lead in paint. Samples were analyzed for total lead content by the UC Hematology and Environmental Laboratories, which is accredited by an internationally recognized program.

IndyACT is a non-government organization (NGO) of activists working to make the world a better and safer place, IndyACT is a participating organization on IPEN, an international network of more than 700 organizations in 106 countries working eliminate harm to human health and the environment from toxic chemicals. IPEN’s Global Lead Paint Elimination Campaign has collected data on lead in paint in more than 30 developing countries.

For more information

Naji Kodeih, Ph.D.         Scott Clark, Professor Emeritus             Sara Brosché, Project Manager 

IndyACT                          University of Cincinnati                           IPEN

+961 3315326                  +1 513 290 3446                                  +46 704035816

najikodeih@gmail.com      clarkcs@ucmail.uc.edu                     sarabrosche@ipen.org

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