The office of the provincial Minister in the Southern Province of Zambia has commended the Children’s Environmental Health Foundation (CEHF) on their continued efforts and campaigns against the unstandardized of lead-in paint by paint manufacturing industries in the country.
In a speech read on behalf of Southern Province Minister Honorable Cornelius Mweetwa during the official launch of the international lead poisoning week, Southern Province Permanent Secretary Dr. Namani Monze stated that CEHF has been championing the health of children as well as campaigning against the threats of chemicals and other environmental hazards that are a potential threat to the health and development of children.
Dr Monze said that the efforts by the Children’s Environmental Health Foundation Support Sustainable Development Goals on health and the environment which falls under SDG 3 which ensures that there are healthy lives and promotion of well-being for all at all ages and SDG 15 which discusses the importance of life on land.
“I am aware that lead has devastating consequences on our health and the health of children. Young children are most vulnerable. Their nervous systems are still developing, and they absorb 4-5 times more than adults which can cause internal disability thereby contributing to them underperforming at school and other behavioural issues,” he explained.
Dr Monze explained that in adults, lead exposure could increase the risk of ischemic heart disease and strokes while in pregnant women lead exposure could damage organs of the developing fetus.
The Office of the provincial minister CEO made mention that throughout the week of action which fell on the 13th of December to the 17th of December 2021, the government, the paint industry, civil society, and local communities in the southern province worked together in disseminating information about the importance of putting in place legally binding control measures to limit lead in paint.
He explained that this year’s International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week theme “Working Together for a World Without Lead Paint” echoes the importance of partnerships and consensus building on eliminating the unstandardized use of lead in paint.
The Southern Province Permanent Secretary encouraged paint manufacturers to act and voluntarily stop adding high-end components of lead materials in paint products.
He stated that controlled use of lead in paint would contribute to attaining SDG 3 which describes the importance of ensuring that the health and life of all are achieved.
“The World Health Organization (WHO) states that lead is among the top ten (10) chemicals of major public health concerns, therefore, we can take action to control its use and make it safe for use,” he explained.
The Zambian government through the Ministry of Trade, Commerce, and Industry in 2020 through the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS), a government agency that specializes in standardization, quality assurance and testing developed and gazetted paint standards of 90 parts per million for the manufacturers to voluntarily utilize which has proved to be healthy.