Assessment of lead quantities, perceptions and awareness of health risks from lead-based paints sold in Kampala metropolitan area
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Lead (Pb) compounds have historically been used by paint manufacturers to speed up drying, increase durability, maintain a fresh appearance and resist moisture that causes corrosion. Paint manufacturing is one of the exposure pathways of lead to people and the environment. The associated health risks due to lead poisoning have generated global concerns and the push to eliminate lead from paint. This study was undertaken to determine the amount of lead in the paints sold in Kampala metropolitan area, assess users’ perception of the effectiveness of lead-based paint and level of awareness of health risks among the traders, users and manufacturers of paint. A total of 132 water-borne (n=57) and solvent-borne (n=75) paint samples amounting to 528 litres were purchased in retail shops in Kampala metropolitan area and the samples analysed using Atomic Absorption Spectrometer (AAS) to determine the concentration of lead in them. The lead content was calculated on dry basis using ISO 6503:2015 method. The concentration of lead in solvent-borne paint from different manufacturers was: yellow paint (41840.86 ppm), green paint (3132.26 ppm) and red (330.2833 ppm while the concentration in clear, white and red oxide paint were (9.37 ppm, 6.97 ppm, 6.45 ppm and 16.3 ppm respectively). Water-borne paint from different manufacturers had lead concentration below the limit of 90 ppm limits set by the Uganda National Bureau of Standards. The concentration of lead was significantly different in the water-borne and solvent-borne paints (F1,130 = 7.35, p <0.001) and significantly varied among the different coloured paints (F7,124 = 6.14, p <0.001). Most of the users (74%) were aware of lead content in paint, 67% of the traders were not aware while all the manufacturers were aware of lead-based paint and the associated health risks. The mean concentration of lead in yellow, green and red solvent borne paint was above 90 ppm that is recommended by United States Consumer Products Safety Commission. All water-borne paints have concentrations less than 90 ppm thus complying with the limits set by the Uganda National Bureau of Standards and those set by the United States Consumer Products Safety Commission. Most of the paint users claimed that they were aware of the lead-based paints and the associated human health risks. In the absence of alternative pigments to include in paint, training of users, traders and manufactures on occupational hazards is recommended to increase awareness of the health risks associated with exposure to lead-based paint.