Heavy-metal: Lead

Based on a recent study, estimated reduced cognitive potentials (loss of IQ points) due to preventable childhood lead exposure equal to 98.2 million points in Africa, 283.6 million in Asia, and 24.4 million in Latin America and the Caribbean, which translate into economic losses equal to $134.7, $699.9, and $142.3 billions of international dollars, respectively Unfortunately it is still legal to sell lead paint in many countries around the world for decorating homes, schools and children’s toys.

The project in Indonesia is part of IPEN SWITCH-Asia lead in paint elimination project in 7 countries (Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Philippines, SriLanka, and Thailand) between 2012-2015.

In 3 years, BaliFokus conducted 2 paint studies, released in 2013 and 2015. The studies showed that 77-80% of decorative (enamel-based) paints tested in Indonesia contained lead concentration more than 200 times of the safe level recommended by WHO. 

Bright colours are widely used in kindergarten and early-childhood education facilities all over Indonesia, risking 32 million children from lead exposures. 

However, 20-23% of the paint tested in the studies, produced by multi-national companies as well as by medium scale Indonesian companies, already proofed that safer alternatives to lead already available in Indonesia and economically feasible. 

In 2015, the project has successfully pushed for the release of a new national standard on lead and chemicals content in enamel-based paints manufactured and sold in Indonesia. At the launching of the second report, a new Standar Nasional Indonesia SNI 8011:2014 also introduced to the public. 

The government of Indonesia agreed to set the phase-out date to eliminate lead in paint by 2018. 

The objective of the Global Alliance for the Elimination of Lead in Paint (GAELP), coordinated by UNEP and WHO, is to promote a phase-out of the manufacture and sale of paints containing lead by 2020.