View Full Version : Hazardous lead content in colouring stationery

20-12-2004, 12:43 PM
from http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/Monday/National/NST32180612.txt/Article/indexb_html

GEORGE TOWN, Sun:A Health Ministry-sponsored study has revealed that certain colouring stationery available in the market, including some popular brands, have high levels of lead content which could be potentially hazardous to children.

A report on the study said the margin of error in its findings was minuscule as the team of four officers adhered to very stringent analysis procedures when conducting tests.

"With these results, there is no doubt about lead content in colouring stationery. It could be one of the potential sources of lead exposure to children, especially to those below seven years old.

"The distribution of the lead levels varied widely between type, brand name and primary colour. There were also many extreme values noted in each item examined," according to the study.

It found that the distribution of lead level concentration in the stationery according to brand name, regardless of type and colour, ranged from as low as below one mg/g to as high as 20.2 (10.2) mg/g.

It said exposure to lead levels of 10 microgrammes/decilitre (mg per dl) of blood and above had been proven to cause significant IQ deficiency.

The samples were analysed by the National Poison Centre at Universiti Sains Malaysia.

It said many industrialised countries had recognised this problem to be one of the most important and preventable childhood health issues because of its detrimental effects, especially on the nervous system.

A total of 403 colouring stationery were collected, comprising pencil colours, watercolours, magic colours, crayons and oil pastels.

"The levels of lead concentration varied widely between the type as well as within the same type itself.

"The pencil type had the highest lead level concentration with median Interquartile Range (IQR) of 6.3 (10.6) mg/g followed in descending order by oil pastels, water colours, crayons and magic colours with median IQR of 0.81 (2.88), 0.39 (2.38), 0.25 (0.39) and 0.05 (0.14) mg/g respectively."

The study revealed that lead level concentration in colouring stationery according to colour regardless of the brand's name and type was highest in gold colour with median IQR of 10.41 (11.92) mg/g, followed by magenta 4.37 (6.24), white 2.87 (5.08), orange 1.68 (5.33), carmine 1.54 (3.94) and blue 1.28 (3.97) mg/g.

"Previously, widespread use of leaded petrol and lead-based paint for house painting had been claimed as the main source of elevated children's blood lead levels, especially in developing countries," the report said.

Lead poisoning, it said, was one of the most common heavy metals poisoning among children. Children are at risk because of their immature cells and have a tendency to absorb more pollutants as compared to their body weight.

However, the study said children would only be exposed to lead in colouring stationery if they had the biting habit, through hand contamination due to the habit of rubbing the colour on paper with fingers or hands and while sharpening the pencil colour as colour bristles can contaminate uncovered food.

The team said although there were no guidelines to control the use of lead in colouring agents, dialogues with manufacturers on the dangers of lead and the findings of the study would help make them more responsible.

"A study to determine the prevalence of risky behaviour, like the habit of biting among school children especially in pre- schools, is also recommended in order to establish the possible mechanisms of exposure to children," it said.

21-12-2004, 10:48 PM
so this study is another waste of public money. Poison/lead in color staionery is around since the fifties. Now, the Western authorities imposed heavy penalties on the brand owners/manufacturers including barring present & future import (usu contract manufactured in china) unless the products meet the health standards.

Here in bolehland, we made a study and then what??? :mad:

Its a sheer waste of resources just to find out that our ignorant children has poor biting habits when dealing wiht their stationery.

Why don't they just adopt the western standards and then made this public safety statement? Then and only then would the ministry of health had achieved something...or is this also going the same way as beta agonis in the meat sold to us? That we the consumers are to report the poison to them?

:mad: tupai

21-12-2004, 11:21 PM
A study would be pointless if no effort are taken to protect the consumers. Having said that, what is the point of doing the studies? Like what Tupai said, its a waste of money.

As the studies has been carried out, all of us out here would be very very grateful if the result of the studies are disclose and publish. I believe the manufacturers will than view this from the bird's eyeview.

Consumers today are rather smart. They know their rights. They have the capability to differentiate what is right and what is wrong. If the reports are published, manufacturers with the higher lead content would definetely have a lower sales. This would indirectly makes the manufacturer to take preventive measures or perhaps create a new generation of colourings which are safe for the future generation.