Public urged: Don’t use paint brushes on barbecue
Rhodina Villanueva (The Philippine Star) - December 23, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – As Filipinos get ready for the holidays, the EcoWaste Coalition yesterday advised the public not to use paint brushes to apply basting sauce on barbecue and grilled meat.

The advocate for chemical safety and zero waste said the handles of some paint brushes contain high levels of lead, way above the threshold limit of 90 parts per million for lead in paint.

A chemical screening of 20 paint brushes bought by the group on Dec. 22 and 23 for P10 to P84 each from hardware and general merchandise stores in Makati, Mandaluyong, Manila, Pasay and Quezon cities showed exceedingly high lead levels.

EcoWaste used a handheld x-ray fluorescence device to identify and quantify toxic metals such as lead on mostly yellow paint coatings of the brush handles.

Out of 20 samples, 17 had lead content ranging from 329 to 18,300 ppm. Significant amounts of arsenic, cadmium, chromium and mercury were found in most of these 17 samples.

Thony Dizon, coordinator of EcoWaste’s Project Protect, said it is likely that the paint on the brush handle will deteriorate and contaminate the basting sauce rubbed on the meat.

“While further study is needed to determine potential lead contamination, we advise food preparers to discontinue using paint brushes in food preparations,” he said.

Instead of paint brushes, Dizon suggested food grade basting, pastry brushes or improvised brushes made from banana, lemongrass or pandan leaves for basting.

Based on the group’s ocular investigation, street vendors often use paint brushes to mop sauce on barbecue or to spread margarine on other holiday favorites such as bibingka (rice cake) and puto bumbong (steamed sticky rice).

ACIRC AS FILIPINOS BRUSHES DIZON LEAD MAKATI MANDALUYONG PAINT PASAY AND QUEZON PROJECT PROTECT THONY DIZON
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