Waste watchdog hails phaseout of leaded paints

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Non-profit watch group on toxic chemicals EcoWaste Coalition hailed the passing of the December 31 deadline for the completion of the three-year phaseout period for lead-containing architectural, household and decorative (AHD) paints as a “victory for children’s health” in a statement this week.

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“We welcome the national ban on lead-added AHD paints as their removal from trade and commerce would help reduce a major source of childhood lead exposure and result in healthier kids,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

“We congratulate our paint manufacturers for taking steps to reformulate their AHD paint products in compliance with the government’s Chemical Control Order (CCO) for lead and its compounds. In fact, Boysen and Davies, the country’s top two paint makers have gone ‘lead-safe’ even before the 2016 deadline,” he added.

“We thank the Philippine Association of Paint Manufacturers and their past and current officers for supporting the industry’s shift to more eco-friendly paints with no heavy metals and low volatile organic compounds,” he also said.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Administrative Order 2013-24, signed by then Secretary Ramon Paje on December 23, 2013, established the guidelines for the country’s shift to lead-safe paints.

Section 4 of AO 2013-24 stated that the “use of lead and lead compounds shall be strictly prohibited in paints with more than 90 parts per million (ppm) threshold limit beyond three years (2013-2016) for AHD applications and six years (2013-2019) for industrial applications.”

“The policy is a milestone in the country’s efforts to achieve sound management of chemicals and uphold the people’s rights to health and to a healthy environment,” Dizon said.

The country’s lead paint regulation is also recognized internationally and is among the four case studies featured in the “Toolkit for Establishing Laws to Control the Use of Lead in Paint,” along with the policies of the European Union, Uruguay and USA. The toolkit is a product of Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint, which includes the DENR, Pacific Paint (Boysen) Philippines, Inc., and the EcoWaste Coalition among its partners.

“The CCO for lead and lead compounds is further acknowledged as one of the achievements of the Aquino administration in the arena of priority chemicals policy,” Dizon pointed out, noting that the last CCO on polychlorinated biphenyls was promulgated in 2004 during the Arroyo administration.

A CCO is a policy issuance on “priority chemicals that the DENR determined to be regulated, phased-out or banned due to the serious risks they pose to public health, workplace and the environment.”

“The Duterte administration will be remembered for enforcing the 2016 and 2019 phase-out deadlines for lead-containing paints,” Dizon said.

“We thank Secretary Gina Lopez and the entire DENR machinery, particularly the EMB, for ensuring that the phase-out targets are effectively enforced and complied with beginning January 2017,” he said.

According to the “National Report on Lead in New Enamel Household Paints” published in 2015 by the EcoWaste Coalition with IPEN (a global civil society network promoting safe chemicals policies and practices), “while lead exposure is also harmful to adults, lead exposure harms children at much lower levels, and the health effects are generally irreversible and can have a lifelong impact.”

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