UNICEF Ghana to begin testing blood for lead levels

UNICEF Ghana to begin testing blood for lead levels

UNICEF Ghana to begin testing blood for lead levels 150 150 Batteries International

December 3, 2021: The international children’s charity UNICEF said in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on November 25 that it would begin testing people — with a focus on children — for blood levels in the country.

Edith Clarke, health specialist UNICEF and the coordinator of the ‘Protecting Every Child’s Potential’ project, said blood samples were already taken to the Ghana Standards Authority but were often flown outside the country to be tested — but under this initiative, testing could be carried out in local health facilities.

Lead poisoning was identified as coming from lead-acid batteries, vehicles, some paints and cheap cosmetics.

“The actual magnitude of lead released into the environment was unknown due to several activities such as scrap dealing, burning of electronic waste from gadgets, emissions from factories as well as exposure to lead acid batteries,” she said.

“Lead exposure could have serious consequences for the health of children aged five. At high levels of exposure it attacks the brain and physical development, which could be fatal at high levels.

“For unborn babies it can pass through the mother’s circulation into the body of the unborn child and up to the age of five to six it still exerts some damage, which causes irreparable harm.”

A UNICEF report published in July 2020 – The Toxic Truth estimated that one in three children around the world were lead poisoning victims, which meant the actual number affected could be as high as 800 million.

Battery associations and the ILA responded to the report with a statement urging governments to do more to crack down on illegal battery recycling.