Filipino children’s health secured as PHL completes phaseout of leaded paints

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Filipino Chidren's Health
The Philippines has stopped production of leaded paints, ensuring protection of children’s health. Photo from Eco-Waste Coalition.

Filipino children’s health are now more secured as the Philippines marked the completion of the phaseout of leaded paints at the close of 2019.

To prevent Filipino children’s exposure from lead-containing paints, local manufacturers were directed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Administrative Order 2013-24 or the Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds to phase-out lead containing paints by December 31, 2019.

For six years since the DENR directive, national and local authorities, including the Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Education, Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Quezon City Government, adopted policies in support of DENR AO 2013-24.

The phaseout was completed by January 1, 2020. EcoWaste Coalition lauded the Philippine Association of Paint Manufacturers (PAPM) as it historically transitioned its paint and coating industry to full non-lead production.

“The conclusion of the phase-out period for lead-added industrial paints wraps up a positive process of replacing lead-based additives, particularly pigments, with non-lead raw materials for all paint formulations,” said Ely Kenneth Ong Sue, President, PAPM.

“The industry-wide shift to lead-free paint manufacturing is a superb way to usher in 2020. It’s a milestone made possible by unique government, industry and civil society collaboration,” Ong added.

DENR, PAPM, Pacific Paint (Boysen) Philippines, Inc., EcoWaste Coalition and IPEN are partners of the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint.

Eileen Sison, President of EcoWaste Coalition and an active member of the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) which is campaigning for a global ban on lead paint, noted, “The complete phase-out of lead-containing paints is very significant for our children’s health and our nation’s future as childhood lead exposure can cause reduced intellectual development, limit educational attainment as well as hinder socio-economic advancement. We recognize our partners in the public and private sectors for this collective feat that will redound to a lead-safe environment, especially for young children, pregnant women and workers”.

The EcoWaste Coalition and IPEN recommend the following for individual, household, and institutional paint consumers:

1. Demand paints with no added lead from paint manufacturers, as well as full disclosure of a paint product’s lead content.

2. Ask for, consciously buy, and apply only paints with no added lead in places frequently used by children such as homes, schools, daycare centers, parks, and playgrounds.

3. Adopt a “Lead Safe Paint Procurement Policy” to ensure that only certified lead safe paints and products are purchased in compliance with government regulations to protect employees, customers and the public against the harmful effects of lead exposure.

Lead exposure is dangerous to health especially to the younger ones. “Lead exposure can cause chronic and debilitating health impacts in all age groups, but it is particularly harmful to young children. This is because their developing nervous systems can be damaged by lead, resulting in reduced cognitive abilities, poor educational attainment, attention deficit disorder, and anti-social behavior. In adults, lead exposure can cause hypertension, renal impairment and damage to the reproductive organs,” stated the United Nations Environment Programme which declared the use of lead-safe paints is now mandatory.

The World Health Organization (WHO) considers leaded paint “a major flashpoint” for children’s potential lead poisoning, saying that “since the phase-out of leaded petrol, lead paint is one of the largest sources of exposure to lead in children.” Lead paints contain above the regulatory limit of 90 parts per million.

The Philippines’ success in phasing out lead paints was praised in a Jakarta forum, while Philippine paint manufacturer Sycwin was declared the world’s first company to to have its industrial brand paints certified lead-safe, and operators of yellow school buses were urged to use safe automobile paints.

SEND cheers to the Philippine paint industry for phasing out leaded paints that pose danger to our children!

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Blesilda Dela Cruz
Blesilda Dela Cruz is a undergraduate student taking up AB Communication at De La Salle University – Dasmariñas. An Efficient, Hard-working, Committed, and Goal-oriented person towards the goal and development of the company. A reliable team member who knows how to collaborate well. Has a passion in story-telling and acting.