Target: Paul Biya, president of the Republic of Cameroon
Goal: Outlaw the sale of toxic lead paint
Banned in the United States since 1977, lead-based paint poses a severe health risk to children and adults alike when used to cover the walls of a household. Inhaling or ingesting lead paint chips can seriously damage the nervous system and lead to a variety of long-term health problems. However, lead paint remains on the shelves in Cameroon, where families are free to purchase and paint their homes with it. Urge the government of Cameroon to protect its citizens from the dangers of lead paint.
In a recent investigative study, researcher Perry Gottesfeld discovered high levels of lead in numerous house paints on the market in Cameroon. Nearly a dozen household paints in the country contained at least 300 times as much lead as is permitted by U.S. standards. Companies selling their products in Cameroon are not required to list ingredients on their paints or print warnings of the dangers of lead poisoning. As a result, families have no way of knowing which household paints are safe and which could be deadly.
Children are especially susceptible to lead poisoning, as lead paint tastes slightly sweet. The effects of lead ingestion on growing bodies can be disastrous; children, especially those under the age of six, can suffer kidney damage, stunted growth, and delayed development when exposed to lead. Lead paint in a home can also affect unborn children if it is inhaled or ingested by pregnant women.
Lead paint is far too dangerous to remain on the market anywhere in the world. Urge the president of Cameroon to outlaw this toxic product immediately.
Dear President Paul Biya,
A recent study indicates that lead paint remains on Cameroonian shelves at an alarmingly high rate. Of 61 paints purchased by researchers from Cameroonian stores, 64 percent had lead concentrations far above the U.S. safety standard. Nearly a dozen paints exceeded the U.S. standard by 300 times or more. Given the danger that lead poisoning poses to children and families, these numbers are absolutely unacceptable.
When children or adults ingest lead paint either through inhalation or accidental ingestion, they can suffer from severe nerve damage and other health problems. Children under the age of six are especially vulnerable to lead exposure, as the heavy metal can interfere with growth and development. As a result, lead paint has been outlawed in the United States for over 40 years.
I urge you to take action to protect the health of your citizens immediately. Outlaw the sale of paints with unsafe levels of lead in Cameroonian stores.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: chris riebschlager via Flickr