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Toxics watchdog discovers lead-containing spray paints amid ban

Philstar.com
Toxics watchdog discovers lead-containing spray paints amid ban
In this Nov. 18, 2019 photo, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno tried to wipe off the spraypaint graffiti near Manila City Hall.
Screenshot from Manila Public Information Office's video

MANILA, Philippines — An environmental health watchdog group monitoring compliance announced its discovery of six more spray paints with excessive levels of lead the country’s ban on lead paint.

In its latest Alertoxic report, the EcoWaste Coalition in a lead content analysis performed by an undisclosed private laboratory detected up to 99,900 parts per million of lead present in six bright color Tacoma Spray Paints from a hardware store chain.

Of the six spray paint products analyzed, four contained dangerously high lead concentrations exceeding 10,000 ppm. One "glossy yellow paint" also topped the list with a massive 99,900 ppm of lead. The group said it purchased the product in mid-April, as the discovery brings the number of violative aerosol paint products in the country to 56 per the coalition’s tracker.

Per Administrative Order No. 2013-24 of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the historic chemical control order phasing out lead-containing paints, bans lead, a toxic chemical, in all paints in excess of the threshold limit of 90  ppm.

“The presence of non-compliant products in the market, including imported ones, stresses the need for further measures to ensure full compliance to the ban,” said Thony Dizon, chemical safety campaigner at the EcoWaste Coalition.

"The products are ‘made in China’ with no manufacturer’s markings," he also said, adding that the products were also listed as being manufactured in 2020, which came after the government had supposedly already completed the phase-out for all lead-containing paints in the country.

Environmental health scientist Geminn Louis Apostol is quoted as saying in the group’s statement: “No safe level of lead exposure without adverse health effects has been identified. Even low-dose exposure to this toxic metal is deemed hazardous, especially to infants and children and their developing brains.”

Apostol, an assistant professor at the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health, warned that “early childhood exposure is linked to the lifelong intellectual, developmental and behavioral problems such as reduced intelligence quotient, impaired learning ability, inattentiveness, hearing and speech problems, slowed growth, aggression, violence, and other behavioral disorders.”     

The EcoWaste Coalition will request the hardware store chain it obtained the lead-containing paints from to voluntarily stop their sale across their 75 branches across the country and to return the remaining stocks to their source for disposal.

"Ensuring that spray paints pose no lead-based hazards is absolutely required as these paints are marketed as ideal for almost all types of surfaces and painting applications," a 2020 report by the coalition and the International Pollutants Elimination Network reads. 

The coalition also said it will notify concerned environmental, health and trade regulators about their latest test buys and the need for concerted measures to boost complete compliance to the country’s ban on lead paint

“Our government, with active support from the paint industry and the civil society, has phased out lead in all paints to protect our children from this major source of lead exposure for kids. They are exposed to lead when lead paint chips and crumbles, releasing lead into the dust and soil that can be ingested through normal hand-to-mouth behavior,” Dizon also said. 

DENR ECOWASTE COALITION
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