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Metro

'Most paints have high lead levels'

- Rhodina Villanueva -

MANILA, Philippines - Laboratory tests show that 69 percent of household enamel paints sold locally exceed the standard for lead levels in paint set by the United States, the group EcoWaste Coalition said yesterday.

EcoWaste’s Manny Calonzo said 24 out of 35 paint samples the group bought in local hardware shops and sent to the University of Cincinnati (UC) in Ohio for testing exceeded the US lead in paint standard of 90 parts per million (ppm). More than one half of the samples had lead levels 100 times greater than the US standard.

“The high concentrations of lead in our paints underscores the need for a national regulation that will curb the presence of this toxic substance in paints to make them safe for children who are most vulnerable to lead poisoning,” he said.

UC professor Scott Clark said the fact that 12 out of 35 of the paints tested – including a yellow paint, a color that is often high in lead – meet the current US standard “is evidence that substitutes for lead in paint do exist in the Philippines and that it is technologically and economically feasible to manufacture high-quality paints sans lead additives.”

Clark, who visited the Philippines in December 2009, co-chairs the legislation and regulation focal area of the World Health Organization (WHO)/United Nations Environment Program Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead in Paints and advises the EcoWaste Coalition on its advocacy to do away with lead in paints for children’s health.

Calonzo said they hope to “continue monitoring the local paint industry’s efforts to phase out and eliminate leaded paints for the sake of the Filipino children.”

According to the WHO Healthy Environments for Children Alliance, “there is no known safe blood lead level but it is known that, as lead exposure increases, the range and severity of symptoms and effects also increases.”

Lead exposure in childhood, mainly through the ingestion of dust from crumbling paint, has been linked to reading and learning disabilities, lower vocabulary and grammatical-reasoning scores, reduced IQ and attention span, increased absenteeism, poorer eye-to-hand coordination, and lower class standing in school.

Pregnant women and women of child-bearing age are also at risk because lead can be passed from a pregnant mother to her unborn child when lead crosses the placenta and thus affecting the fetus.

vuukle comment

CHILDREN ALLIANCE

ELIMINATE LEAD

HEALTHY ENVIRONMENTS

LEAD

MANNY CALONZO

PAINT

PAINTS

SCOTT CLARK

UNITED NATIONS ENVIRONMENT PROGRAM GLOBAL ALLIANCE

UNITED STATES

UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI

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