Nigerian paints have "dangerously high levels of lead" and because of the global market, those paints ares more and more likely to end up in U.S. consumer goods, according to researchers at the University of Cincinnati and University of Ibadan in Nigeria.
Their study, to be published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, Nigeria''s recent economic recovery may lead to increased activity in the building industry and Nigeria--like other African countries--is increasing trade with Asia, particularly in China, Eugenious Adebamowo, of the University of Ibadan and lead author of the study, said in a statement made available to the press.
It''s important that international regulations be in place to supplement local efforts to ensure that paints have lower than recommended lead levels, with the ultimate goal of eventually eliminating all lead from paint, she adds. The study found 96% of consumer paints in one Nigerian city, Ibadan (Pop. 2 million), had higher-than-recommended levels of lead. Red, yellow and green -- the colors of the Nigerian flag -- had the highest levels.
The lead, which can cause permanent brain damage such as diminished IQ, not only poses a threat to Africans exposed in their homes and communities, but to other nations, given the global trade network. A previous study found 75% of paints in countries without lead-controls like the 30-year-old ban on lead paint in the U.S. had levels of lead exceeding U.S. regulations.
Among those countries were major manufacturers like China, Malaysia and India. A spate of recent toy recalls of toys made in China shows how prevalent the use of lead paint is there. The researchers advocate a global ban on lead paint, to protect both the developing world and the industrialized world that imports products made there.
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