The EcoWaste Coalition, an environmental and health watchdog group in the Philippines, has lauded the government of Thailand for issuing a mandatory regulation in enamel paints that will protect children in Thailand and the ASEAN region against lead exposure.
Effective January 2017, all enamel paints used for construction and decorative purposes which are manufactured or sold in Thailand must contain no more than 0.01 % (or 100 parts per million) lead, mercury and cadmium in dry weight, and must not exceed 0.1% (1,000 ppm) hexavalent chromium (dry weight).
In addition, all enamel paints manufactured or sold in Thailand will be required to show a warning label about potential dangers from the product, for example, “contains toxic substance” or “keep away from children.”
“We consider this a very important step in pushing for health-protective regulation in paints as countries in the ASEAN region move towards increased economic cooperation and integration,” declared Sonia Mendoza, President, EcoWaste Coalition.
“We congratulate the Thai authorities for taking action and commend the civil society campaign led by the Ecological Recovery and Alert-Thailand (EARTH) for their dynamic advocacy to make this happen with support from various collaborators,” she said.
“Our steadfast multi-stakeholder effort in the Philippines to regulate lead in paints could have possibly encouraged Thailand to switch from voluntary to mandatory regulation,” she noted.
The Thai Department of Foreign Trade in February 2015 issued a statement alerting Thai manufacturers that “the Philippines values public health and safety” and that Thai paint manufacturers “should continuously improve the quality of their products” because Thailand exports as much as 616 million baht in paint products and varnishes to the Philippines each year, the EcoWaste Coalition recalled.
The DENR A.O. 2013-24 signed by Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje provides for a 90 ppm limit for lead in paint and establishes a phase out period for leaded architectural, decorative and household paints by January 2017, and leaded industrial paints by January 2019.
“We hope other ASEAN countries will decisively act and follow suit to ensure that paints produced, traded, sold and used in the region are safe from toxic lead, which can cause serious harm, especially to young children,” Mendoza said.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “lead is a cumulative toxicant that has harmful effects on multiple body systems” and that “there is no known level of lead exposure that is considered safe, ” especially for the unborn babies and young children.
Out of the 10 member states and two observer states of the ASEAN, only three – Philippines, Singapore and Thailand – have regulations controlling lead in paints, particularly oil-based decorative paints.
“The Thai regulation will be beneficial for children in other countries because many Thailand-based manufacturers are major exporters of paint products, particularly in the ASEAN region,” stated Penchom Saetang, Director, EARTH.
“We hope that all manufacturers will comply with this new regulation to reduce the future burden on public health from long-lasting environmental contamination from leaded paint,” she said.
EARTH and the EcoWaste Coalition spearheaded the civil society campaign to get lead out of paints in Thailand and the Philippines as part of the IPEN Asian Lead Paint Elimination Project assisted by the European Union.
EARTH and the EcoWaste Coalition are contributing members of GAELP, a cooperative initiative led by the United Nations Environment Programme and WHO, and are members as well of IPEN, a global civil society organization promoting safe chemicals policies and practices that protect human health and the environment.
Original documents in Thai language:
January 29, 2016 - “Administrative Decree Requiring Alkyd Enamel Paints to Meet Industrial Product Standards” http://www.ratchakitcha.soc.go.th/DATA/PDF/2559/A/010/11.PDFThis national legislation refers to technical requirements specified in “Thai Industrial Standards No. 2625-2557: Safety Standard for Alkyd Enamel Paints” http://app.tisi.go.th/standard/fulltext/TIS-2625-2557.pdf
http://ipen.org/sites/default/files/documents/National_Report_Lead_In_New_Enamel_Paints_in_Thailand_June_2015.pdf (please turn to page 18, last paragraph, to see the quote from the Thai Department of Foreign Trade)