Quezon City public school mural promotes use of lead-safe paints

Quezon City public school mural lead-safe paints
San Antonio Elementary School unveiled its mural art that promotes a toxin-free environment for children.

Quezon City’s San Antonio Elementary School (SAES) is promoting the use of lead-safe paints with a colorful mural launched during the United Nations-backed International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week.

The project seeks to spread awareness of the need to protect children from getting exposed to lead-based paint hazards which can harm children’s health and cause reduced intelligence and behavioral problems.

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A limited number of parents and teachers of the public school and environmental activists from the EcoWaste Coalition gathered at the covered court to witness the undraping of the mural painted by parent Eduardo Roldan and his team.

Written on the right and left portions of the mural are the messages “Ban Lead Paint” and “Working Together for a World Without Lead Paint,” the theme for this year’s ILPPW, signed by key stakeholders, including the Philippine Association of Paint Manufacturers (PAPM), International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN), EcoWaste Coalition and the SAES.

Putting their words into action, the organizers used certified Lead Safe Paint ® products from Pacific Paint (Boysen) Philippines, Inc., Davies Paints Philippines, Inc., and Sycwin Coating & Wires, Inc. for the mural project.

As defined in City Ordinance No. 2739-2018, “lead paint” is a paint or other similar surface coating materials containing lead above the total lead content limit of 90 parts per million. On the other hand, “lead-safe paint” is one that does not contain added lead, as verified and confirmed through third-party certification.

The ordinance, among other things, prohibits the use of lead-containing paints in decorating public facilities and amenities, including schools, daycare centers, children’s parks and playgrounds, health centers, sports complexes and covered multi-purpose courts.

It further enjoins the city employees, contractors and service providers to take protective measures when surfaces previously coated with lead paint are disturbed during repair, remodeling or repainting activities in order to prevent and control the spread of dangerous lead-containing paint chips and dust.

Speaking at the event, environmental health scientist Dr. Geminn Louis Apostol pointed out that “children are exposed to lead when lead-painted surfaces and objects like toys start to deteriorate or flake, dispersing lead to dust that they can ingest through normal hand-to-mouth behavior.”

The Assistant Professor at the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health added that “the use of lead-safe paints in lieu of leaded paints is essential in preventing childhood lead exposure that can irreparably damage the brain and cause intellectual disability and other health problems.”

Presiding over the simple yet meaningful ceremony held amid the COVID-19 pandemic were SAES Principal Antonio Miranda and Quezon City District 1 Councilor Dr. Dorothy Delarmente who chairs the City Council‘s Committee on Parks and Environment. Delarmente is also the daughter of former Councilor Elizabeth Delarmente who authored Quezon City Ordinance No. 2739-2018 requiring the city‘s mandatory procurement and use of lead-safe paints.

“The mural provides a visual reminder to the school community and the entire city about the ordinance that makes it mandatory to procure and use lead-safe paints for publicly-funded construction, maintenance, and renovation projects and activities,” noted Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

For her part, Delarmente said: “I laud the EcoWaste Coalition for its vigilance in promoting children’s health and safety from avoidable sources of lead exposure such as leaded paints. As a mother and medical doctor, I say ‘yes’ to a lead-safe environment for our children, and I firmly support the effective implementation of QC Ordinance No. 2739-2018.”

EcoWaste also campaigns to protect children from toxins by using only lead-safe yellow paints in school buses.

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