EcoWaste Coalition commends chain stores taking leaded paints off shelves

EcoWaste Coalition chain stores
The Philippines has been internationally awarded for its Chemical Control Order (CCO) banning toxic lead in paints.

Toxics watchdog group EcoWaste Coalition has commended some chain stores for taking lead-containing spray paints off the shelves in compliance with a Chemical Control Order (CCO) banning lead, a toxic raw material, in the production of paints and similar surface coatings.

The commendation came right on the heels of the Future Policy Award given by the World Future Council last July 6 to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for promulgating the landmark CCO phasing out lead in all paints to protect the health of vulnerable groups, especially children and workers.

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“We cite local retail stores for taking lead-containing spray paints off the shelves as we have requested. Their action will surely contribute to promoting compliance to the CCO and to protecting our children and workers from the adverse effects of lead poisoning,” said Manny Calonzo, Adviser, EcoWaste Coalition.

Upon written notification by the watchdog group, the following confirmed in writing that they have pulled out the errant paint products from their stores:

  • Citi Hardware
  • Divimart
  • MR. D.I.Y.
  • Unitop Department Store

Spray paint distributors Best Drive International, Inc. and Sinag General Merchandise likewise stopped the sale of their non-compliant products sourced from China.

To recall, the EcoWaste Coalition for its latest market investigation bought a total of 130 samples of bright color spray paints, which it screened for lead with a handheld X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) device. Samples that failed the 90 parts per million (ppm) maximum limit were then sent to SGS, a global testing company, for confirmatory lead content analysis.

As confirmed by laboratory tests, 71 spray paint products representing 27 brands exceeded the 90 ppm limit. Of these 71 leaded samples, 57 had dangerously high lead levels above 10,000. One red orange spray paint was found laden with lead measured at 124,000 ppm.

None of these 71 leaded spray paints discovered by the EcoWaste Coalition was produced by companies belonging to the Philippine Association of Paint Manufacturers (PAPM), the group noted.

“We also would like to seize the occasion to emphasize that more still needs to be done to ensure that only lead-safe paints are sold in the market, including online shopping platforms. The government, in particular, has to strengthen its compliance monitoring and enforcement efforts to purge the market of errant paint products, including old stocks of leaded paints sitting on the shelves or in the bodegas as well as illegal lead paint imports,” Calonzo added.

For his part, environmental health scientist Dr. Geminn Louis C. Apostol explained that “dust and soil contaminated with lead that gets onto children’s hands and mouths is the major pathway by which lead in paint contributes to their exposure to this chemical poison early in life.”

“Lead exposure can cause debilitating and lingering health effects in all people, but it is much more harmful to young children whose brains and bodies are still developing,” he said.

“Exposure to lead early in life can cause developmental delay, reduced intelligence, shortened attention span, learning difficulties, poor school performance, and behavioral problems,” warned Apostol, who also teaches at the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health.

To prevent the resale of the leaded spray paints, the EcoWaste Coalition also requested the concerned retailers and distributors to return the unlawful products to their suppliers for environmentally sound disposal.

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