Environmental watchdog group EcoWaste Coalition on Monday urged Philippine paint manufacturers to hasten the phase out of lead-laden decorative paints and shift to environmentally friendly paint production to avoid possible regulatory sanctions.
As the phase out of lead-containing paints used for architectural, decorative and household (ADH) applications looms, the EcoWaste Coalition reminded concerned manufacturers to hasten their shift to non-lead paint production.
The administrative order 2013-24 of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) stipulates that paint manufacturers must phase out led in ADH paints by December 31.
ADH paints are typically used to decorate residential and school buildings, day care centers and playgrounds, as well as child-oriented products such as toys, school supplies, and furniture like baby cribs, study desks and tables.
By January 1, 2017, lead-containing ADH paints will no longer be allowed to be sold.
That’s just 22 weeks away. The clock is ticking,” said EcoWaste President Noli Abinales.
“We are confident that most companies are seriously hurrying through their paint reformulations not only to comply with the law, but more so to make safer paint products available that will not result in lead exposure hazards to vulnerable groups such as young children, pregnant women, and the workers,” he noted.
EcoWaste also recognized the Philippine Association of Paint Manufacturers (PAPM) for its indispensable role in promoting industry-wide support for the policy, which prohibits lead levels in paint above 90 parts per million (ppm).
Abinales recalled that the EcoWaste Coalition in May-June 2015 received formal pledges from some paint companies confirming their commitment to comply with the lead paint phase out policy, including the Andalucia Manufacturing Corp., FH Colors and Coatings Corp., Globesco Inc., H-Chem Industries, Inc., Super Globe, Inc., Times Paint Corp., and Treasure Island Industrial Corp. All the named companies except for Andalucia are members of PAPM.
Pacific Paint (Boysen) Philippines, Inc. and Davies Philippines, the country’s top two paint makers, have already removed lead compounds commonly used as driers or pigments in paint products ahead of the issuance of DENR A.O. 2013-24.
Pacific Paint (Boysen) Philippines, Inc. and Davies Philippines, Inc. have also successfully secured Lead Safe Paint® Certification from SCS Global Services, a US-based third party certifying body, for their Boysen, Nation, Titan and Virtuoso brands, and Davies brand, respectively.
Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) Director Gilbert Gonzales lauded the two paint makers, expressing his hope that their successful shift to lead-free paint manufacturing would “increase customers’ confidence, expand business transactions, allow uniform labeling, and most of all, protect our children.”
“It makes sense for companies who have yet to finish their shift to non-lead raw materials to switch to panic mode,” Abinales said.
“We hope that not a single company will be left out in the cold as the whole country celebrates the historic phase out of leaded ADH paints few months from now,” he added.
In the second quarter of 2017, the EcoWaste Coalition will conduct yet another paint study to determine industrial compliance with the phase out of leaded ADH paints as required by DENR A.O. 2013-24.
The group said it will release a report afterward that will publicly name compliant and non-compliant ADH paint products.
According to the DENR A.O. 2013-24, “any violation of the requirements specified in this Order shall subject the person(s) liable thereof to the applicable administrative and criminal sanctions as provided for under Sections 41 and 43 of DAO 1992-29 and DENR Memorandum Order No. 2005-003 (Prescribing Graduated Administrative Fines Pursuant to Republic Act No. 6969 and DAO 1992-29).”
The EcoWaste Coalition will continue to assist the government in monitoring compliance to the policy in order to prevent childhood lead exposure via the ingestion or inhalation of lead contaminated dust or soil from lead-based paint and other sources.
According to the policy statement issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Council on Environmental Health last June 2016, “lead toxicity results in substantial, population-level effects on children’s intellectual abilities, academic abilities, problem behaviors, and birth weight.”
“No effective treatments ameliorate the permanent developmental effects of lead toxicity. Reducing lead exposure from residential lead hazards, industrial sources, contaminated foods or water, and other consumer products is an effective way to prevent or control childhood lead exposure,” the AAP said.