11 June 2014

Cebu School Gathering Raises Awareness on Lead Paint Hazards, Promotes Lead Safe School Environment

11 June 2014, Marigondon, Lapu-Lapu City. Visiting environmentalists from 10 countries today joined some three hundred vibrant students in unfurling a huge banner stating “Lead Free Kids for a Healthy Future” during a visit to a local school to raise awareness about childhood lead exposure and promote a lead safe school environment.

The joint activity, co-organized by Marigondon Elementary School, EcoWaste Coalition and IPEN (a global civil society network for a toxics-free future), was held in the midst of the five-day Asian Lead Paint Elimination Project Workshop in Cebu, which started on June 9, with participation from 30 individuals from Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Czech Republic, Sweden and the U.S.

The group also joined the students in a symbolic palm printing using lead safe paints to express their unity with the nation’s goal of protecting all kids against childhood lead exposure.

Jeiel Guarino, Policy and Communications Officer of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Lead Paint Elimination Project, explained that “we are here to increase awareness among students and teachers alike about childhood lead exposure and encourage precautionary action to prevent such environmental exposure,” emphasizing that childhood lead poisoning can be avoided by using lead safe paints. EcoWaste Coalition is one of seven countries participating in the European Union-funded Asian Lead Paint Elimination Project.

“Aside from lead paints, lead-contaminated dust and soil, as well as lead-containing children’s products such as toys and school supplies, cause a serious health risk to young children that can cause detrimental lifelong effects,” Guarino added.

School Principal Reynold Velos concurred that “the event has motivated us to pay close attention to ensuring that our school environment does not pose lead hazard to our pupils, teachers and non-academic staff.”

“Because we care for our children’s health and future, all lead exposures should be avoided,” Velos steadfastly added, noting that Marigondon Elementary School is a child-friendly school.

In children, the most common route of lead exposure is through lead-contaminated dust and soil that gets onto their hands, which in turn gets into their mouth by way of their common hand-to-mouth habits.

The IPEN booklet entitled “Eliminate Lead Paint: Protect Children’s Health,” explains that
“once lead enters a child’s body through ingestion or inhalation or across the placenta, it has the potential to damage a number of biological systems and pathways.”

“The primary target is the central nervous system and the brain, but it can also affect the blood system, the kidneys and the skeleton,” it further said.

Visiting scientist Dr. Sara Brosché, Manager of the European Union-funded Asian Lead Paint E limination Project, reminded that “there is no known acceptable lead exposure level for children that is considered safe.”

Dr. Brosche commended the Philippines for adopting a ground-breaking policy regulating lead in paint and for setting a clear phase-out target for leaded paints, stressing that “its effective enforcement will translate to a lead safe environment for all children.”

Last December 2013, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon Paje signed a chemical control order (CCO) for lead and lead compounds that establishes a threshold limit of 90 parts per million (ppm) for lead in paints, and sets a phase-out period of three years for leaded architectural, decorative and household paints, and six years for leaded industrial paints, including automotive and aviation paints.

The Asian Lead Paint Elimination Project is a three-year project coordinated by IPEN being carried out in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and the Philippines.


1 comment:

Lsg Industrial said...

Awesome activity. Its good to let the children know the lead paint is bad for their health. Office Supplies in Cebu