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Zimbabweans at risk of lead poisoning from local paint

Zimbabweans at risk of lead poisoning from local paint

HARARE – A recent study has found that most of the oil paints produced in Zimbabwe contain high levels of lead, a toxic metal that can cause serious health problems. The study was done by the University of Zimbabwe and LEEP, an international organisation that works to eliminate lead exposure.

Lead poisoning can affect anyone, but children are especially vulnerable. It can damage their brain, nervous system, kidneys, and reproductive system. It can also cause learning difficulties, developmental delays, seizures, and hearing loss. Some of the symptoms of lead poisoning are irritability, loss of appetite, weight loss, abdominal pain, vomiting, and constipation.
The main source of lead poisoning in Zimbabwe is the use of lead-based paint in homes, furniture, and toys. Lead-based paint was banned in many countries decades ago, but Zimbabwe has no regulations on the use of lead in paint. This puts millions of people at risk of exposure to lead through inhalation or ingestion of paint dust or chips.

The government and environmental agencies are aware of the problem and are working to find solutions. They recently held a workshop with various stakeholders, including health experts, paint manufacturers, and policy makers. The workshop aimed to raise awareness on the dangers of lead poisoning, develop strategies to reduce its impact, and create a roadmap for ending the use of lead paint in Zimbabwe.
Some of the participants at the workshop were Ema, WHO Zimbabwe, UNEP, and LEEP. They urged the paint manufacturers to switch to lead-free alternatives and offered technical and financial support for the transition. They also stressed the need for education and awareness campaigns to inform the public about the risks of lead poisoning and how to prevent it.

The workshop also discussed the economic costs of lead poisoning, such as increased healthcare expenses, lost productivity, and reduced economic growth. By addressing the issue of lead poisoning in Zimbabwe, the government can protect the health of its citizens and promote sustainable development.

WHO advised countries to review their paint production processes and reduce the lead content below its limit. It also warned that lead poisoning can have irreversible effects on children’s health.

“We need to act now to protect our children from the harmful effects of lead poisoning,” said Jean-Marie Dangou, WHO country representative.

Zimbabweans at risk of lead poisoning from local paint