Lead Exposure Costs Cameroon

Lead Exposure Costs Cameroon

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate release: May 23, 2016

For More information: Gilbert KUEPOUO, CREPD, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , 677202271

Lead Exposure Costs Cameroon $ 2.52 Billion USD Annually

Annual Worldwide Lead Exposure Costs are 7 Times Amount Low- and Middle-Income Countries Receive in Development Assistance

[Yaoundé, Cameroon] A new interactive map shows that lead exposure costs Cameroon $2.52 billion USD annually. This cost is about 3 times, the amount Cameroon receives in development aid annually ($ 852 290 000 USD in 2014). Economic Costs of Childhood Lead Exposure in Low-and Middle-Income Countries was developed by New York University School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics (NYU) and released today at the United Nations Environment Assembly meeting being held in Nairobi, Kenya. It can be accessed at: http://nyulmc.org/pediatricleadexposure.

“Children’s developing brains are permanently harmed by exposure to lead. One key impact is reduction in IQ score, which is correlated with decreases in lifetime earning potential. For the nation as a whole population-wide reductions in IQ means greater social costs and reduced intellectual capital, and other factors that adversely impact Cameroon’s economy, as the NYU map clearly shows,” said Dr. Gilbert KUEPOUO, Coordinator of CREPD Cameroon.

According to the World Health Organization, "There is no known safe blood lead concentration.” When a young child is exposed to lead, the harm to her or his nervous system makes it more likely that the child will have difficulties in school and engage in impulsive and violent behavior. Lead exposure in young children is also linked to increased rates of hyperactivity, inattentiveness, failure to graduate from high school, conduct disorder, juvenile delinquency, drug use, and incarceration.

According to the NYU researchers: “One of the most important things we can do to decrease children's exposure to lead in LMICs (low- and middle-income countries) is to ensure lead is no longer used in household paint and other paints to which children may be exposed (such as paints on playground equipment).”

CREPD is a partner organization in IPEN’s Global Lead Paint Elimination Campaign (http://ipen.org/projects/eliminating-lead-paint).

From 2011 to 2015, the CREPD has made public the results of the studies on paintings marketed in Cameroon. The 2015 studies have shown that 54% of the analyzed paintings (mostly imported decorative paints) contained fatal levels of lead that would not respond to the regulatory standard of 90 ppm in many countries. There was a maximum of 500 000 ppm in the 2011 study in which more than 67% of paintings marketed in Cameroon had concentrations of lead more of 90 ppm.

“The research and the map released today clearly demonstrate that lead exposure greatly erodes the gains from development aid and that sustainable development will be severely hindered as long as childhood exposure to lead continues,” said Dr. Gilbert KUEPOUO, PhD., Coordinator of CREPD.

Worldwide the cost of lead exposure, according to the NYU research, is $977 billion international dollars with economic losses equal to:

· $134.7 billion in Africa (4.03% of gross domestic product (GDP) in that region),

· $142.3 billion in Latin America and the Caribbean (2.04% of GDP in that region), and

· $699.9 billion in Asia (1.88% of GDP in that region).

To prepare the interactive map, researchers assessed the neurodevelopmental impacts of lead, assessed as decrements (or reductions) in intelligence quotient (IQ) points caused by lead and how those reductions translated into decreases in lifetime earning potential, assessed as lost lifetime economic productivity (LEP) in each country examined.

Additional comparison information to developed countries and to official development assistance (ODAs) dollars is also provided, along with links to the full report and supplemental information.

CREPD is a Cameroon-based non profit and research oriented organization that aims to bridge the gap between science and action in Sub-sahara African countries. CREPD is IPEN’s PO in Francophone Africa and member of the UN Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead in Paint (GAELP).

IPEN is a network of non-government organizations working in more than 100 countries to reduce and eliminate the harm to human health and the environment from toxic chemicals. IPEN is is a member of the Advisory Group of the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint (GAELP), which seeks the elimination of lead in paint by 2020.

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Partners /Donors to the programme

UNEP/Chemicals (UNEP GWMP, UNEP Hg Partnership) and Member of the Lead and Cadmium Working Group of UNEP/Chemicals; SAICM (CREPD is NGO national Focal point); Cameroon Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) (hospital waste management); Working with the Ministry of Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development; IPEN Participating Organization active in many specialized working Groups; Occupational Knowledge International (OK International); Remineralize The Earth (RTE); ZeroMercury Working Group; Consumers For Dental Choice; SSNC ;Many Universities (national and abroad) and Grassroots farmer organizations.