It was in early 2008 that my colleagues at the Centre for Science and Environment had tested household paints for lead content.
The issue was not new. Lead in paints had been widely indicted across the world for being a silent poison--particularly when used on walls and items that children would lick or chew.
As is our practice, we bought samples of leading brands available in the market and analyzed content for the toxin. We found staggeringly high levels of lead in virtually all samples we checked. India does not have a mandatory standard for regulating lead in paints. We only have a voluntary code laid down by the Bureau of Indian Standards (bis), which specifies that lead content should be 1,000 ppm. Our tests found that the biggest and best companies had lead levels 180 times the voluntary standard.