Determination of Lead and Cadmium Levels in Decorative Paints Sold in Nairobi, Kenya
Kameti, Constantine M.
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Lead and cadmium which are heavy metals may be used as paint pigments as they speed drying, increase durability, retain a fresh appearance and resist moisture that causes corrosion. Both lead and cadmium metals are toxic, poisonous and are carcinogen, lower IQ, cause hyper activity among other effect. Their presence in decorative paints can produce toxic effect to both painters and those who live in painted houses or painted product especially children who use painted toys can be in danger of lead or cadmium poisoning if these heavy metals are present in toys. It is therefore necessary to determine the levels of these toxic heavy in paints used in Kenya. This study therefore was carried out to investigate the levels of lead and cadmium in decorative paint samples sold in Nairobi, Kenya. Sampling of fifty (n=50) decorative paint samples from five paint brands randomly selected was done, twenty four (n=24) oil based and twenty six (n=26) water based. The paint samples were digested using analytical grade nitric and perchloric acid and analyzed using atomic absorption spectrometer (AAS). Analysis of variance (ANOVA) using SPSS was used to analyze data. The results of the present study revealed that the oil based paints had high levels of lead amounts with a range of 275.86-37084.48 ppm for the paint brand with the highest lead levels. This exceeded the set limit of 90 ppm by far. The paint brand for water based paint samples with the highest lead levels had a range of 48.53-298.38 ppm. Cadmium levels in both water and oil based paint samples analyzed, met the set levels of 75 ppm. The results can be used by the Kenyan Government to regulate or eliminate lead in decorative paints.