No room for lead-based paints in UAE

FINALLY, a welcome decision has been taken by the civic authorities in Dubai to phase out all lead-based paints being used freely to colour wash the city’s buildings.

By (Talk of the Town)

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Published: Thu 21 Apr 2005, 11:02 AM

Last updated: Wed 12 Apr 2023, 9:33 AM

The move — given the toxic nature of the material and the harmful effects it can have on health — comes a bit late, but better late than never. Like asbestos, lead-based paints should be done away with quickly and traders and manufacturers must toe the line irrespective of the costs involved. Human life is far more precious than the losses that will be incurred.

Even though the production and everyday use of these paints is restricted by regulatory agencies, there is no denying the fact that it does slowly, but surely work away at the human body’s tissues and organs until it is too late. This is a silent killer and the symptoms of lead poisoning — leg cramps, muscle weakness, irritability, fatigue, malnutrition and loss of weight — is hard to detect. A majority of the city’s homes, apartments and even offices are presently colour washed with lead-based paints. For years we have been breathing in its toxic effects. Fortunately, because of the strict restrictions that are in place, the full effects have not been felt and we have been relatively free of any serious complaints. But this is no reason to prolong its use. To do so would be foolhardy.

As was done with leaded fuel and with cheap toys commonly found, so with paint. There is no room for hesitation or questioning the civic order.

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