Home » Government Urged to Safeguard Children from Lead Poisoning

Government Urged to Safeguard Children from Lead Poisoning

by Victor Adetimilehin

Health News

The Country Director of environmental NGO, Pure Earth, Esmond Wisdom Quansah, has called upon the government to implement stringent measures to protect children from lead exposure and poisoning. The effects of lead are particularly grave for children compared to adults, as their developing brains and bodies make them more vulnerable.

Mr. Quansah emphasized that young children, especially those below five years old, can absorb up to five times the amount of lead that adults do. This alarming fact underscores that there is no known safe level of lead exposure without harmful effects.

Childhood lead poisoning can lead to learning disabilities, affecting children’s executive functioning, impulse control, and aggression levels. A study by the Center for Global Development has suggested that more than 20% of the learning gap between rich and poor countries is due to elevated levels of lead in the blood.

Mr. Quansah shared this advice during a recent event at the Tema Parents Association School, marking this year’s International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (ILPPW). The event aimed to educate children about lead, its effects, and what to do when they come into contact with substances containing this harmful chemical.

The ILPPW, held annually during the third week of October, raises awareness about the health impact of lead exposure, spotlights global efforts to prevent childhood lead exposure, and accelerates initiatives to phase out lead use in paint. This year’s theme was “End Childhood Lead Poisoning.”

Earlier this year, a study conducted by Pure Earth, in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), across the three ecological zones of the country, revealed that metal cookware, particularly locally fabricated aluminum cookware known as “Dadesen,” contained lead that could leach into food during cooking. Other identified sources of lead exposure included traditional eyeliners, dust, soil contaminated by electronic waste, and exposure to Used Lead Acid Battery (ULAB) recycling and other lead-related activities.

To address these pressing issues, Mr. Quansah advised the adoption of UNICEF’s five-point action approach. This approach calls on the government to take the lead in assessing childhood lead exposure and its sources, acting decisively across sectors, developing capacities to protect children, strengthening measures to reduce lead in the environment, and eliminating sources of lead poisoning.

Additionally, private sector organizations were urged to ensure responsible use of lead by discontinuing its use in consumer products, practicing safe stewardship of lead in industrial applications, and adhering to relevant laws and regulations.

The call to safeguard children from lead poisoning is a critical and urgent one. It is essential for governments, private sector organizations, and various stakeholders to join hands in protecting the most vulnerable members of society. By taking concrete measures and raising awareness, we can create a safer environment for our children, ensuring a healthier and brighter future.

Source: [Daily Graphic]

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