Battery lead poisoning damages kidneys, children’s IQ, women’s reproductive health —NGO

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Batteries containing poisonous lead assembled for recycling with hazardous health consequences.

Battery lead poisoning damages kidneys, children’s IQ, women’s reproductive health —NGO

A nongovernmental organisation, Alliance for Responsible Battery Recycling(ARBR) has said that indiscriminate disposal, collection, transportation and recycling of used batteries results in battery lead poisoning which damages kidneys, children’s intelligence quotient, IQ, women’s reproductive health and general human health.

Mr Terseer Ugbor, Director, ARBR, who made this known on Tuesday in Abuja during a sensitisation workshop for used battery collectors and transporters, said that lead is a potent neurotoxin that is particularly detrimental to children’s cognitive development, women reproductive and general human health.

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According to the ARBR Director, experts have said that batteries account for at least 80 per cent of global lead use and Nigeria is a high lead-acid polluting zone from battery recycling.

Ugbor further explained that lead exposure is detrimental to children’s health before birth, through age three, when children’s brains are rapidly developing and can irreversibly damage the brain permanently culminating in low intelligence quotient.

“This is as a result of the heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium or nickel that are released into the environment from indiscriminate disposal, collection, transportation and recycling processes.

“Most dead batteries end up in the soil or with battery recyclers who pollute the environment during the collection, storage, transportation and recycling processes.

“Waste batteries are mostly collected by collectors, broken and unfortunately toxic acids are released into the environment, thereby affecting human health,” he explained.

Ugbor added that retailers, recyclers and end-users of batteries all have a shared responsibility to minimize the negative impact of batteries in the environment.

Mrs M.A. Amachree, Director, Inspection and Enforcement Department, National Environmental Safety, Regulation and Enforcement Agency, NESREA, said that used lead-acid batteries (ULABs) were hazardous and needed to be handled properly to protect the environment and prevent exposure to occupational and health risk.

According to her, lead is highly toxic to human health and can cause damage to the kidney, brain, as well as impair the hearing and learning abilities of children.

Amachree disclosed that the Federal Government had developed the national environmental sanitation policy and other policies with a view to controlling battery waste in Nigeria and minimizing the  hazardous effects of battery re-use, recycle and energy recovery before final disposal.

She added that the implementation of the provisions of the Battery Control Regulations holds a lot of promise for the smooth take-off of circular economy and efficient material recovery in used batteries processing in Nigeria.

The director enjoined collectors, transporters, recyclers to key into the process with the required registration agencies like NESREA and ARBR, as well as comply with the stipulated transportation and collection requirements.

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