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Excluding Lead in Paints

Within the frameworks of “International week of lead poisoning prevention activities” annual campaign, on the initiative of the “Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment” and “Khazer” Ecological NGOs, with the support of Yerevan Aarhus Center, a discussion was held on October 19.
The problem concerning lead content in paints and its negative impact for the first time was raised in Armenia in 2011 by “Khazer” Ecological NGO.
Lilik Simonyan, representative of the “Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment” NGO informed that every year 600 thousand cases of children poisoning with lead is registered, which are expressed in the form of mental retardation.

This and other factors led to the Global alliance to carry out more detailed studies on lead-containing materials and their impact and set the issue of exclusion of lead in paints to the international organizations and governments.

Qnarik Grigoryan, expert of the organization presented the results of research carried out in 2013 and this year on lead content in enamel paints selling in Armenia. According to her, the amount of lead in paints imported and sold in Armenia is higher than in other countries.

This year, according to the colors (red, green, yellow) in 29 of examined 49 samples, the amount of lead exceeded the international MPC (permissible density), which is 90 ppm (one unit in a million) and the MPC adopted in Armenia: 5000 ppm, has been exceeded in 11 samples. Moreover, in one of the yellow paints of Iranian production the content of lead was 180 thousand ppm, whereas 10 thousand ppm is already considered too dangerous.

If we consider the results of the study in accordance with geography of production, then in paints sold in Armenia the lead content according to the international standard was less than in American-made paints, which, however, are more expensive.

According to Qnarik Grigoryan only on two paints were marks that did not contain lead, but in one of them the lead was in accordance with the international MPC, but the other exceeded the norms more than 11 times. Being a toxic metal, lead causes irreversible health effects, especially on children. Passing through the organism, it doesn’t destroy, but accumulates in the body.

Asya Ayvazyan, member of “Khazer” Ecological NGO informed that according to the study of Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead, the lead in paints reduces the child’s intellectual capacity and efficiency, which can be expressed in future lost income.

According to calculations of 2011, the loss for Armenia amounts to 2% of GDP (414 million dollars). Armenia has refused the ethylene petrol containing lead, but lead is contained in batteries, metal, plastic, ceramics items, accessories, paints, which are used for painting doors and windows, even toys.

In industrialized countries the use of such paints reviewed and banned long as forty years ago, while in developing countries lead-containing paints are manufactured, sold and used in everyday life. So the organizers of the event are going to ask the government to review the MPC content of lead and do not import lead-containing paints into Armenia. As well as to apply to the Economic Commission for Europe, so that measures taken until 2020 to eliminate the lead in paints.

Prepared by Mari Chakryan
Translation by Anush Beybutyan