India's Paint Plans

The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has prepared a draft notification on lead standards for all the categories of paints used for the household and decorative purposes. For most of the paints the maximum lead limit has been proposed at 90ppm, which is the current global best practice. A few of the industrial paints are to have 300ppm lead limit for technical reasons. The final notifications are yet to come.

On the other hand, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry constituted a sub committee for regulating lead in paints. The Centre for Science and Environment is a member of this sub-committee, which has just met a couple of times, without any outcomes.

The government needs to set stringent and mandatory rules to ensure that paints become lead free. There is a need to make labelling laws stringent ensuring that the paint manufacturers carry a warning about lead. At present, the only standard for lead is the BIS standard of 1,000 ppm, which is voluntary.