The Caribbean Poison Information Network (CARPIN) is encouraged by the steps taken by the Government of Jamaica to implement the necessary legislation to prevent paint containing lead from entering the island.
In an interview with JIS News, Poison Information Coordinator at CARPIN, Sherika Whitelocke-Ballingsingh, said this is based on a 2018 Lead in Paint study which found that there is no lead in paints manufactured in Jamaica.
“That means the lead content in our paint was below 90 parts per million,” Mrs. Whitelocke-Ballingsingh said. “However, in terms of controlling the possibility of paints containing lead coming into the country, the only way that we can actually ensure this is by having a legal framework to prevent it,” she added.
According to Mrs. Whitelocke-Ballingsingh, the poison control stakeholders are pleased to have arrived at an agreement with the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation (MEGJC).
“At our last stakeholders meeting this year that was convened by MEGJC, we had an agreement for a legal framework to be done in regard to having paint that is less than 90 parts per million within the country,” she said.
The Information Coordinator was speaking against the background of International Lead Poisoning Week, which was observed around the world from October 25 to 31.
“It is a global event that is launched and celebrated among numerous countries. This year, we had over 100 countries participating in the campaign against lead poisoning, and CARPIN in Jamaica is one such organisation that has been campaigning for many years,” she said.
“We are a member of the Global Lead Paint Alliance and also of the International Pollutant Elimination Network (IPEN) and our campaign focuses on encouraging governments to have a legislation that will ban paints that contain lead from coming into the country,” she added.
Mrs. Whitelocke-Ballingsingh said that the 2018 study also revealed that one of the industrial paints that was tested in Jamaica actually contained lead, but that paint was not manufactured in Jamaica.
“It was manufactured in the US but it had over 10,000 parts per million,” she explained, which is well above the acceptable limit.
She congratulated manufacturers in Jamaica who have implemented technology to ensure that there is no lead in locally manufactured paint.
She said that a legal framework to protect the country is the next step, adding that it should seek to prevent the sale and distribution of products that have lead above the acceptable limit within the country and also to prevent manufacturers from adding lead to their paint.
The 2018 Lead in Paint study was conducted by CARPIN, following which the baseline data was provided to the Ministry.