Lead Safe Paint® Certification Awarded to Bangladesh’s Largest Paint Producer
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), "lead paint is one of the largest sources of exposure to lead in children." Lead exposure during early childhood years has been linked to an increased likelihood of impaired cognition and executive function, impulsiveness, aggression and delinquent behavior. Brain damage caused by chronic, low-level exposure to lead is irreversible and untreatable, so reducing lead exposure is an important worldwide health issue.
In 2011 a four-year SWITCH-Asia regional project was launched, to decrease production and use of lead paint in the target countries Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, China, Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia. The Lead Elimination project was led by IPEN, an international NGO with participating organizations in more than 100 countries working for a toxics free future and a member of the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint Advisory Group.
In Bangladesh the project was coordinated by the Environmental and Social Development Organisation (ESDO), which has continued to work towards the elimination of lead pain also beyond the timeframe of the SWITCH-Asia project.
"Since 2008, ESDO is working to phase out the use of lead in paint manufacturing. We have done researh and public awareness campaign in this regard. Amongst all paint manufacturing industries in Bangladesh, we have found Elite Paint as the most enthausiastic in producing lead free paint. It is the pride of Elite paint as well as the whole country that they have succeded to produce all of their paints with less than 90ppm lead content", said Siddika Sultana, ESDO Executive Director, as the company recently celebrated the milestone of being the first paint company in Bangladesh to achieve Lead Safe Paint® certification.
Lead Safe Paint® is an independent, third party certification program that verifies that paints contain less than 90 parts per million (ppm) total lead (dry weight) - the strictest mandatory regulatory standard for lead content in paint established in e.g., the United States, the Philippines, Nepal, and India. A 90-ppm standard is achievable when a manufacturer avoids the use of lead pigments and driers in its products and when reasonable care is given to avoid the use of ingredients that are contaminated or falsely labeled.
Elite had shared with ESDO their interest to get the third party Lead Safe Paint Certification. With promotion of international third-party certification of paints being also a component of the former SWITCH-Asia project, ESDO has been facilitating the whole certification process: it introduced Elite to SCS Global Services and continued to liaise with both parties throughout the process. Paint samples were prepared in CER laboratory under ESDO's facilitation and sent to SCS.
Paints from Elite Paint have been certified by leading third-party certifier SCS Global Services (SCS), the program's exclusive certification body in Bangladesh. SCS' independent analysis confirmed that paint brands from the company contained less than a total of 90 ppm lead. As a result, Elite Paint, the largest Bangladeshi paint company, is licensed to use the Lead Safe Paint® certification mark on their paint can labels and other promotional materials. Using this mark will provide consumers with confidence that these paints will protect their families from the hazard of lead exposure.
Nicole Muñoz, Managing Director for SCS Global services stated, "Elite Paint's Lead Safe Paint® certification demonstrates the growing global demand for safer paint products. SCS is proud to partner with IPEN and work with leading brands to expand this program and make lead safe paint available for wider consumer use."
On 29 August 2017, the news was announced publicly through a press briefing organized by Elite Paint and Chemical Industries at Begum Sufia Kamal Public Library, Dhaka. The certification program, established in 2015 by IPEN, informs customers that the paints they are purchasing contain less than a total concentration of 90 parts per million (ppm) lead, the strictest regulatory standard for lead content in paint established by any government anywhere in the world.
"Elite Paint is proud to achieve the milestone of producing lead free paint. We are running first towards our target. But, in our country, implementation of any process is slow", said Mozahar Hossain, Director (Operation) and Head of Management Committee of Elite Paint. "We strive to make our paint products environmentally friendly and our next target is to produc VOC (Volatile Organic Carbon) free paint."
"Phase out of lead paint is essential for our society. We must act with urgency as the health of our children can be permanently and irreversibly damaged even at very low exposure to lead", said Syed Margub Murshed, Former Secretary, Government of Bangladesh and chairperson of ESDO. "Elite Paint has proved that paints can be produced in a manner that will not pose health and environmental hazards, and that paint companies in Bangladesh are in a position to shift to non-lead raw materials. I believe, success of Elite Paint in securing Lead Safe Paint® certification will hasten the issuance of the country's much-awaited lead paint regulation," he added.
"Paints with high levels of lead continue to be sold in many countries in the world. We commend Elite Paint for seeking Lead Safe Paint® certification and voluntarily committing to producing lead safe paint products. We encourage other companies and brand leaders around the world to join Elite Paint and seek certification" said Sara Brosché, IPEN.
Written by: Siddika Sultana, ESDO
Edited by: Silvia Sartori, SWITCH-Asia Network Facility