22 June 2018

LGUs Heed DILG Directive on Lead Safe Paints

A waste and pollution watch group cited two local government units (LGUs) for taking concrete action to safeguard children and other vulnerable groups from being exposed to lead, a highly hazardous chemical, in paint and dust.

The EcoWaste Coalition lauded the City Councils of Davao City and Quezon City for passing on June 5 and June 13, respectively, ordinances requiring the mandatory procurement and use of lead safe paints in publicly-funded construction, maintenance and renovation projects and activities in their geographical jurisdiction.

Councilors Pilar Braga and Jimmy Dureza co-introduced the Davao City ordinance, while Councilor Elizabeth Delarmente introduced the Quezon City ordinance.

The approval of the ordinances came on the heels of a Memorandum Circular 2018-26 issued by Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo M. Año last February 28 on the “Mandatory Use of Lead-Safe Paints by LGUs.”

“We laud the local authorities of Davao and Quezon Cities for heeding DILG’s directive to adopt policies that will institutionalize the procurement and use of lead safe paints, especially for painting jobs paid out of public funds,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

The group had earlier recommended the mandatory procurement of lead safe paints for government purchasing in support of the ongoing phase-out of lead-added paints in the country.

“The adopted ordinances conform to the global goal of phasing out lead-added paints and reducing the risks posed by such paints to public health and the environment,” Dizon noted. 

According to the EcoWaste Coalition, the ordinances adopted by the Davao City and Quezon City Councils have bolstered the enforcement of the Chemical Control Order (CCO) for Lead and Lead Compounds issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The CCO, issued in 2013, phases out paints containing lead above 90 parts per million (ppm), the strictest regulatory standard for lead in paint worldwide. 

The EcoWaste Coalition expressed its hope that other LGUs will adopt similar measures to protect their workers and constituents against lead exposure.   

As a major paint consumer, the LGUs have a responsibility to ensure that only lead safe paints are bought and used to decorate government-financed buildings, facilities, and amenities, the group emphasized.  

-end-

Reference:

http://www.dilg.gov.ph/issuances/mc/Mandatory-use-of-Lead-Safe-Paints-by-LGUs/2658

https://server2.denr.gov.ph/uploads/rmdd/dao-2013-24.pdf

20 June 2018

Group Cheers BOC for Intercepting Mercury-Laden Beauty Products



The achievement of customs authorities in blocking the entry of mercury-containing skin whitening cosmetics has not gone unnoticed.

In a statement issued in reaction to yesterday’s news, the non-profit anti-toxics watch group EcoWaste Coalition lauded the Bureau of Customs (BOC) for seizing illegal shipments from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates that include 6,500 pieces of banned Goree Beauty Cream and Goree Day & Night Whitening Cream laden with mercury.

“Our customs inspectors deserve a pat on the back for intercepting these mercury-tainted Goree products that are banned in the Philippines, as well as in Brunei and Singapore, due to their mercury content,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“The seizure of these dangerous goods before they are distributed in retail outlets across the country strikes a major blow against unscrupulous merchants that should prompt them to cease their unlawful business,” he pointed out.

Product test buys conducted by the EcoWaste Coalition this year confirm the illicit sale of the said Goree products in Metro Manila, Davao City, and Puerto Princesa City despite being banned by the Food and Drug Administration in October 2017.

“We hope customs authorities will dig dipper into this smuggling case and prosecute the culprits to finally put an end to this illegal trade that adversely impacts on human health and the environment,” he further said.  

“It is important to pinpoint the source of these illegal shipments in UAE with the help of the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the local authorities,” he emphasized.

“As Balikbayan boxes were used to ship the banned items to Manila, we find it necessary for the government to reach out to courier service providers and overseas Filipinos to inform them about the prohibition on Goree and other banned products and the fines and penalties awaiting violators,” he added.

The EcoWaste Coalition also urged the BOC to keep the confiscated products out of landfills and incinerators to prevent mercury releases to the environment.

The group reiterated the information from the US Environmental Protection Agency warning that: “Once landfilled, mercury from the products may end up in groundwater, and potentially in sources of drinking water.  Once incinerated, mercury may end up in the air.” 

Mercury, a toxic metal prohibited in cosmetic formulations, can cause skin blotching, discoloration, and rashes, decrease dermal resistance to bacterial and fungal infections, and result in damage to the brain and the nervous, digestive and renal systems, the EcoWaste Coalition said.

The Minamata Convention on Mercury, which the Philippines has yet to ratify, seeks to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds, including those from mercury-added products such as skin lightening creams and soaps.


-end-

Reference:

http://www.fda.gov.ph/advisories-2/cosmetic-2/472052-fda-advisory-no-2017-289

http://www.who.int/ipcs/assessment/public_health/mercury_flyer.pdf


https://www.epa.gov/mercury/mercury-consumer-products

18 June 2018

EcoWaste Coalition Cautions Parents vs. Baby Wipes with Banned Preservatives


Some wet wipes that are used to clean the face, hands and bottom of babies may contain banned preservatives that can trigger allergic reactions.

The EcoWaste Coalition, a non-profit environmental and health organization, sounded the alarm versus methylchloroisothiazoli none and methylisothiazolinone (MCI/MIT), two chemical preservatives that are banned in leave-on cosmetic products such as wet wipes.

“Our test buys show that imported baby wipes sold for as low as P20 per pack contain these chemical preservatives that are associated with allergic reactions such as skin rashes,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

Last Sunday, June 17, the group managed to buy unregistered baby wipes listing MCI/MIT as ingredients from retailers at 168, 999, and Lucky Chinatown Shopping Malls in Manila.

One of the products bought ---  “Dong Bang Baby Tender Baby Wipes Fresh Scented” --- was among those included in the public health warning issued by the Food and Drug Administration last March 22 against unverified and potentially dangerous cosmetic products.

“Skin contact with MCI/MIT, which are known sensitizing agents, can elicit allergic contact dermatitis in humans, especially among babies who have very delicate skin,” he said.

While MCI/MIT are allowed in rinse-off cosmetic products, cosmetic regulations governing the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the  European Union (EU) ban these preservatives in leave-on products including wet wipes, Dizon pointed out.

According to the EU, “for leave-on cosmetic products (including ‘wet wipes’), no safe concentrations of MIT for induction of contact allergy or elicitation have been adequately demonstrated.”

To prevent children’s exposure to known skin sensitizers, the EcoWaste Coalition urged parents to consider these tips:

1.  Use lukewarm water, mild soap and cotton balls for cleaning baby’s bottom and only use wet wipes when water is not available.  

2.  Read the product label carefully and shun those that include MCI/MIT as ingredients.

3.  Reject products that do not list their ingredients and do not have an expiry date.

4.  Look for alcohol-free and unscented wet wipes.

5.  To cut the chances of an allergy, refrain from using wet wipes for cleaning baby’s hands, mouth and other body parts.

6.  After using wet wipes, rinse with water to get rid of chemical residues and reduce the risk of skin allergies.

The EcoWaste Coalition further reminded the public not to flush used wet wipes or throw them on streets or canals as these may block the drainage and sewer systems, clog anti-flood pumping stations, ruin wastewater pumps, and aggravate the plastic pollution of water bodies and the oceans.

-end-


Reference:

https://ww2.fda.gov.ph/attachm ents/article/453569/FDA%20Circ ular%20No.2017-006-1.pdf
https://ww2.fda.gov.ph/index.p hp/advisories-2/cosmetic-2/488 137-fda-advisory-no-2018-034
https://ww2.fda.gov.ph/index.p hp/advisories-2/cosmetic-2/497 771-fda-advisory-no-2018-099
https://eur-lex.europa.eu/lega l-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CEL EX:32016R1198&from=EN

15 June 2018

Group Advocates for Proper Waste Management to Beat the Dengue Menace

The EcoWaste Coalition has called on the local authorities and the general public to embrace ecological solid waste management (ESWM) as a practical strategy to address the dengue scourge. 

The waste and pollution watch group aired its plea for ESWM as the ASEAN Dengue Day is observed today, June 15, to increase public awareness on dengue, mobilize resources for its prevention and control, and demonstrate the region’s commitment to tackling the disease. 

“Practicing ESWM in every household and barangay will help a lot in depriving Aedes aegypti mosquitoes with breeding spots,” said Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

Dengue virus is transmitted by day-biting female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that breed in clean standing water, especially in places where water collects and with poor drainage and sanitation. 

"Carelessly thrown plastic bags and bottles, polystyrene packaging, sachets, snack packs, empty bottles and cans, and other discards can gather and hold water where mosquitoes can lay their eggs.  It’s very important to keep our discards properly sorted and managed," Alejandre pointed out. 

“Also, recyclables such as those stored in school, market and community materials recovery facilities should be kept dry and clean so as not to attract mosquitoes, as well as cockroaches and rats,” he added.

Water storage containers, drums, pails, flower pots, plates under potted plants, cemetery vases, tin cans, tires, rain gutters, ornamental fountains, and other artificial or natural water containers that are within or near to places where people reside are natural breeding habitats for Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the group said.

To keep the household and community environment free of dengue vectors, the EcoWaste Coalition urged the public to observe the following practical tips: 

-  Check your backyard regularly for water-filled containers.

-  Remove trash that can collect and hold water.

-  Recycle or dispose of water-holding containers that are not needed.

-  Cover water buckets, drums, and tanks with lids.

-  Empty and clean water containers thoroughly once a week.

-  Change water in flower vases weekly.

-  Remove water from plates under potted plants weekly.

-  Clear rain gutters of leaves and other debris.

-  Puncture or cut old rubber tires used as roof support.

To scare and get rid of mosquitoes at home,  the EcoWaste Coalition also encouraged families to grow basil, catnip, citronella grass, garlic, lavender, lemongrass, marigolds, peppermint, rosemary, and other natural mosquito repellents. 

On the other hand, the group cautioned the public from using unregistered insecticides that have flooded the market as these may do more harm than good.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had repeatedly warned  household/urban pesticide products (HUPPs) such as aerosol insecticides, coils,  and anti-mosquito bracelets and pendants, lotions and sprays, and patches that have not been evaluated by the FDA may pose potential hazards to health and the environment. 

“FDA cannot guarantee their quality, efficacy, and safety.  Such products are harmful, toxic and may pose an imminent danger to human and animal health,” the FDA stressed in advisories warning the public against the use of unregistered HUPPs. 

-end-    

Reference:

http://asean.org/?static_post= 2017-asean-dengue-day-theme-un ited-fight-dengue
https://www.cdc.gov/dengue/res ources/30Jan2012/aegyptifactsh eet.pdf
https://ww2.fda.gov.ph/index.p hp/advisories-2/cosmetic-2/505 748-fda-advisory-no-2018-167- public-health-warning-against- the-use-of-unregistered- household-urban-pesticide- product-batch-6

14 June 2018

Groups Applaud Quezon City Council for Passing Ordinance Requiring the Use of Lead Safe Paints

Children’s health and environmental protection organizations lauded the Quezon City Council for adopting an ordinance that will protect kids, women, and workers from being exposed to lead, a highly hazardous chemical.

In a joint statement, Arugaan (a support group for women with young infants and children) and the EcoWaste Coalition (a waste and pollution watch group) commended the 20th City Council for approving on third and final reading yesterday, June 13, an ordinance “requiring the use of lead safe paint in construction, maintenance and renovation projects and activities” of Quezon Cty.

Sponsored by District I Councilor Elizabeth Delarmente, the ordinance seeks to foster the city’s policy “to promote the public’s health, safety and welfare, as well as promote a toxic-free environment, by ensuring the mandatory procurement and use of duly certified lead safe paints.” 

As defined in the ordinance, “lead safe paint is a paint that does not contain added lead as verified and confirmed through a third party certification.”  On the other hand, “lead paint is a paint or other similar surface coating materials containing lead above the regulatory total maximum lead limit of 90 parts per million (ppm).

“Kudos to Councilor Delarmente and the City Council for enacting an ordinance that will ensure only independently verified lead safe paints are procured and used for painting projects and activities funded by taxpayers’ money.  This is a very good news for children’s, women’s and workers’ health,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“This ordinance will protect babies in the womb and young children from being poisoned by lead through the ingestion and inhalation of lead-laden paint chip and dust, which can irreparably damage the brain and the central nervous system and cause reduced intelligence and behavioral problems,” said Ines Fernandez, Chairperson, Arugaan.

Quezon City is the second local government unit (LGU) after Davao City, that has adopted a lead safe paint ordinance in line with DILG Memorandum Circular 2018-26 enjoining LGUs to“support the phase-out of lead-containing paints and eventually reduce the hazards and risks posed by such paints to human health," according to the EcoWaste Coalition.

The ordinance prohibits the following acts to ensure that leaded paints are not bought and used for the city’s projects and activities: 


--- procuring paints containing lead above 90 ppm;
--- purchasing paints that lack independent proof of compliance with the regulatory standard;
--- receiving and applying donated paints that are not compliant with the lead paint regulation; and
--- using lead-containing paints above 90 ppm in decorating public facilities and amenities, including, but not limited to, schools, day care centers, children’s parks and playgrounds, health centers, sports complexes and covered multi-purpose courts.

The ordinance also requires employees, contractors, and service providers to ”take protective measures  when surfaces previously coated with lead paint are disturbed during repair, remodeling or repainting activities in order to prevent and control the formation and dispersion of lead-containing paint chips and dust and reduce the risk of exposure to lead.” 

Violators will be fined P2,000 for the first offense and  P3,000 for the second offense.  For the third offense, violators will be meted with a fine of P5,000, imprisonment of 30 days or cancellation of business license, or both at the discretion of the court.

In addition, all those convicted by the court will be required to render 30 days of community service to be determined by concerned local government authorities. 

The Quezon City Engineering Department has been assigned to take the lead in the strict implementation of the ordinance in coordination with the Parks Development and Administration Department, Environmental Protection and Waste Management Department, Health Department, Division of City Schools, and relevant national government agencies.

-end-

Reference:

http://www.dilg.gov.ph/issuances/mc/Mandatory-use-of-Lead-Safe-Paints-by-LGUs/2658