Toxic Level of Lead Paint In Zippers And The Health Concerns For Children

colored zippers chosen by the EcoWaste Coalition

Lead is a toxic metal that is sometimes used in paint. Often used to enhance the colors yellow, red, white, and a few others. It is also water resistant. That means that adding lead to paint ensures that it will not wash off. This is especially helpful when colored zippers are in question. Being opaque, a small amount covers a large area. This makes lead-paint cheaper. Thus, some manufacturing companies in the zipper industry use it. The problem is that there is no known amount of lead which is safe. Ingesting or inhaling particles of this harmful metal can damage a person’s health. It is especially dangerous for children.

EcoWaste’s Disturbing Discovery
In a previous program in earlier June, the EcoWaste Coalition bought 30 different zippers in Divisoria, that is, the largest retail and wholesale market in Manila, Philippines. These range in price from the cheapest to the most expensive. They chose colored zippers that were red, yellow, green, and orange. They tested these zippers for lead using an X-Ray Fluorescence device. What they discovered was that a large number of zippers contained high amounts of lead. This was not the first time that they discovered lead in brightly colored zippers. They also detected zippers coated with lead paint on school bags and pencil pouches.

zippers found to contain high levels of lead by the EcoWaste Coalition

The Negative Effects Of Lead On Children
A high amount of lead in the blood attacks the nervous system and brain causing a coma or even death. Children who survive lead poisoning may have irreversible mental problems. These range from mental retardation to behavioral changes. However, even small amounts can harm the child’s health. As lead is carried by the blood, it reaches every organ in the body. The child’s growing brain is affected the most. A child that has ingested lead may have a lowered IQ, attention problems, and behavioral changes. Lead can also cause anemia in children. Anemia is a condition where the blood doesn’t have enough red cells or hemoglobin. This means the body doesn’t receive enough oxygen. The person suffering is constantly tired and feels an unwavering weakness.

What Are WHO And EcoWaste Doing To Solve The Problem?
The World Health Organization (WHO) has joined with U.N. Environment Programme. They are working to phase out the use and manufacture of lead paints. Their goal is to prevent the exposure of lead paint to children as well as adults. They are developing guidelines and providing authority figures with evidence of lead’s negative effects. This is in order to change the laws regarding lead paint and to implement the laws already in place.

The EcoWaste Corporation took a more active approach. Apart from testing zippers, they have started a number of anti-lead actions. One of their actions was collaborating with major zipper manufacturers and local elementary schools. They exchanged all the old zippers from children’s bags and accessories with new, lead-free ones. This was done free of charge to the families.

Actions like these and the initiative of the WHO will stop the use of lead paint in time. Until that time it is best to buy zippers from reputable manufacturers–those who test their own products for lead and guarantee lead-free products.

Source: EcoWaste Coalition & WHO

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