Philippines’ landmark lead paint regulation shortlisted for Future Policy Award

Philippines' landmark lead paint regulation Future Policy Award
The Philippines is the first Southeast Asian country to successfully implement legislation towards lead-safe paint.

The Philippines’ landmark lead paint regulation has been shortlisted for the Future Policy Award 2021 (FPA 2021) given by the World Future Council (WFC).

The country’s Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds (CCO), issued as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Administrative Order 2013-24, is one of the 12 shortlisted policies selected from a total of 55 nominated policies from 36 countries that were announced on May 27, 2021.

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The CCO bans the use of lead in the production of paints and other processes, including the manufacture of toys, school supplies, cosmetics, and food contact packaging materials.

The CCO imposes a total maximum lead content of 90 parts per million (ppm) for all paints and sets a phase-out period for lead-containing architectural, household, and decorative paints (2013-2016) and lead-containing industrial paints (2013-2019).

The WFC cited the Philippines for becoming the first Southeast Asian country to successfully implement legislation towards lead-safe paint.

Government, industry, and civil society groups lauded the shortlisting of the country’s landmark lead paint regulation.

Below is an overview of the policy as summarized by the WFC:

“The policy’s objective is to increase awareness of the toxicity of lead exposure and to provide safer alternatives to protect the health of the population and the environment. It comprises a roadmap with clear definitions, phase-out plans, and decisive instruments with special attention to children.

“The CCO combines a collaborative top-down and bottom-up strategy with successful implementation.

“While globally only a few countries have enacted comprehensive bans on the use of lead additives in all paints, the Philippines demonstrate that it is entirely possible to restrict the use of lead in all paints to the maximum limit of 90 ppm, including in industrial paints, which generally have lead concentrations that are up to 10 times higher.

“By 2020, the local industry had beaten the phase-out deadline for lead paints with a total of 1,395 paint products certified through the new Lead Safe Paint® Certification programme.”

DENR Undersecretary for Field Operations and Environment Atty. Juan Miguel Cuna, the director of the Environmental Management Bureau when the CCO was being deliberated, acknowledged the shortlisting of the policy which he credited to “the vigorous support from our paint industry and civil society partners to protect vulnerable populations, particularly children, women, and workers, from the harmful effects of lead exposure”.

“We consider the CCO’s shortlisting for the FPA 2021 as a high point in the industry-wide transition to lead-safe paint production made possible by the promulgation of a mandatory policy that was developed with the participation of paint manufacturers, raw materials suppliers, environmental health activists, and government regulators.

“Local paint makers have now switched to non-leaded ingredients for pigments, driers, and rust inhibitors, indicating the doability and viability of making the shift,” said Derrick Tan, President, Philippine Association of Paint Manufacturers (PAPM).

“The shortlisting of the CCO for FPA 2021 is a testament to our country’s resolve to protect children’s health from preventable sources of lead poisoning such as lead in paint, dust, and soil, which can seriously affect a child’s growth and development, including causing intellectual impairments and behavioral issues,” said Manny Calonzo, Adviser for the Lead Paint Elimination Campaign of the EcoWaste Coalition and the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN).

“This shared achievement should inspire all sectors to sustain the monitoring of compliance to the CCO and related regulations and to the adoption of further measures that will, for example, address ‘legacy paint’ or lead paint applied in the past, especially in homes, schools, playgrounds and other places frequented by children,” added Calonzo.

“The shortlisting of the lead paint regulations of the Philippines and Ethiopia, which were both developed with the essential input and participation of various sectors, including environmental health NGOs, highlights the need for countries to enact and enforce strong laws banning lead in all paints to safeguard children’s health,” said Sara Brosche, Science Advisor and Manager of IPEN Global Lead Paint Elimination Campaign. “IPEN is privileged to have collaborated with the EcoWaste Coalition and Pesticide Action Nexus-Ethiopia in building support for the adoption of exemplary lead paints laws in their respective countries.”

Dubbed as the “Oscar on best policies,” FPA is the first and only award that celebrates policies for the benefit of present and future generations on an international level. This year’s FPA puts the spotlight on the most effective policy solutions that minimize the adverse effects of exposure to chemicals on human health and the environment.

Nominated policies to the FPA are judged based on the 7 Principles of Future-Just Lawmaking, which are derived from the seven principles for sustainable development law adopted by 192 states at the 2002 Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development.

The FPA is awarded by the WFC and is organized this year in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), International Labour Organisation (ILO), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Launched in 2007, the WFC is composed of eminent global changemakers working for a healthy and sustainable planet with just and peaceful societies. It is based in Hamburg, Germany.

The Future Policy Award recipients will be revealed in a virtual award ceremony on July 6.

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