12 June 2017

Watch Group Lauds DSWD’s Directive on Mandatory Use of Lead-Safe Paints

The EcoWaste Coalition, an advocate for children’s protection against lead exposure, lauded the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for making the use of lead-safe paints a mandatory requirement in facilities catering to disadvantaged and vulnerable sectors.

“We give Secretary Judy Taguiwalo and the DSWD the thumbs up for issuing the memorandum requiring the use of lead-safe paints in residential and non-residential facilities managed or operated by the department and other accredited agencies,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

The group had earlier requested the DSWD to issue such a directive after the Department of Education in January this year ordered the compulsory use of lead-safe paints in all preparatory, elementary and secondary schools.

Taguiwalo’s memorandum to all DSWD officials and employees, the EcoWaste Coalition said, is in line with the phase-out requirements for lead-containing paints under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Administrative Order 2013-24, or the Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds. 

“This policy will make lead safety a key concern for Reception and Study Centers for Children, Regional Rehabilitation Centers for Youth, Homes of Boys and Girls and Lingap Centers, as well as for orphanages and day care centers across the country,” Lucero said.

“This will promote a lead-free environment for the children and youth being cared for by the DSWD and licensed social welfare and development agencies (SWDAs) by removing a preventable source of lead exposure among kids such as peeling lead paint and dust.  This is essential for their lifelong good health,” she added. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) warned that “children are particularly vulnerable to the neurotoxic effects of lead, and even relatively low levels of exposure can cause serious and in some cases irreversible neurological damage.”  WHO classifies lead as one of the “ten chemicals of major public health concern.”

According to the DSWD Secretary’s memorandum, “the Standards Bureau/Unit shall ensure compliance by all SWDAs that their residential and non-residential facilities, including furniture, fixture and equipment, are using lead-safe paints or coatings prior to licensing or re-accreditation.”

“The Administrative Service/Unit and the Procurement Service/Unit shall both ensure that future painting works for all (DSWD) buildings, office premises and structures, including centers and institutions, either by administration (with the materials to be procured) or by contract (with labor and materials to be outsourced) should comply with (DENR A.O. 2013-24),” it stated.

The memorandum also tasked the DSWD Inspectorate Committee to facilitate the inspection of DSWD buildings, office premises and centers in order to identify those decorated with paints exceeding the threshold limit of 90 parts per million under the said DENR A.O.

“The DSWD Disposal Committee is also instructed to facilitate proper removal and disposal of lead paints as may be deemed necessary during (the) repainting or renovation of structures in consonance with the guidelines set by the Philippine Association of Paint Manufacturers,” the memorandum said.

-end-

Reference:
http://www.who.int/ipcs/assessment/public_health/lead/en/
http://server2.denr.gov.ph/uploads/rmdd/dao-2013-24.pdf

02 June 2017

Group Backs Moves by DepEd and QC to Restrict Unhealthy Foods and Drinks in Schools


An environmental and health group praised the Department of Education  (DepEd) and the Quezon City Government for issuing policies that will protect school children from foods and drinks containing high amounts of saturated fat, sugar or salt.

The EcoWaste Coalition lauded Education Secretary Leonor Briones for promulgating DepEd Department Order 13, Series of 2017, which sets the “Policy and Guidelines on Healthy Food and Beverage Choices in Schools and in DepEd Offices.” 

The group also commended the Quezon City Government for its Anti-Junk Food and Sugary Drinks Ordinance of 2017 that bans the sale and distribution of unhealthy food and drink within a 100-meter radius of private and public preparatory, elementary and high schools in the city.

“We laud Secretary Briones for issuing detailed guidelines aimed at promoting healthy eating habits, especially among our young learners, particularly by restricting the marketing, sale and consumption of food and beverage products that are too fat, too sweet or too salty in our schools,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

“If effectively enforced, this latest policy issuance from DepEd will go a long way in curbing both malnutrition and obesity among our children, which can severely affect their growth and development, while promoting the regular intake of foods and drinks that can make them go, grow and glow,” he added.

“The Quezon City ordinance, which complements DepEd’s policy, provides a model that can be studied and replicated by other local government units,” noted Dizon.

School administrators, canteen owners and vendors found in violation of the ordinance shall be fined  P1,000 for the first offense, P2,000 for the second offense, and P5,000 for the third offense plus business permit revocation.

DepEd’s latest policy issuance “establishes the guidelines to promote healthy diets and positive eating behaviors,” as well as “provide healthy eating environments to learners, teaching, and non-teaching personnel.”

The policy specifically enumerates healthier food and beverage choices, introduces a system of categorizing locally available foods and drinks and provides guidance in evaluating and categorizing foods and drinks, as well as guidance in the marketing and sale of foods and drinks in schools and DepEd offices, including food items for school feeding programs.

The guidelines, for instance, provides a list of foods and beverages in the green, yellow and red categories.  Those listed in the green category should always be available in school canteens.  Those classified as yellow should be served carefully.  And those categorized as red are not recommended in canteen menu.

Examples of foods and drinks in the green category: unsweetened milk, safe and clean water, fresh buko water, rice, corn, whole wheat bread, cassava, boiled sweet potato, boiled saba, boiled peanuts, suman, puto, fishes, shellfish, small shrimps, lean meats, chicken without skin, nuts, eggs and fresh fruits in season.

Examples of foods and drinks in the yellow category: 100% fresh fruit juices, fried rice, bread, biscuits, banana cue, camote cue, turon, maruya, pancakes, waffles, champorado, pancit, arroz caldo, sandwiches, processed foods (subject to evaluation of saturated or transfat and sodium content), stir-friend vegetables       

Examples of foods and drinks in the red category:  soft drinks, alcoholic drinks, sports waters, sports drinks, flavored mineral water, energy drinks, sweetened waters, powdered juice drinks, any products containing caffeine, any processed fruit/vegetable juice with added sugar of more than 20 grams or 4 teaspoons per serving, any jelly, ice crushes and slushies, any ice cream, ice drops and ice candies, cakes and slices, donuts, sweet biscuits and pastries, chocolates, hard/chewy candies, chewing gums, marshmallows, lollipops, yema, French fries, bicho-bicho, instant noodles, all types of heavily salted snacks such as chips or chichiria, chicharon, chicken skin, bacon, deep-friend foods including fish balls and kikiams, canned fruits in heavy syrup, sweetened fruits, deep-fried vegetables.

DepEd D.O. 13 applies to all public elementary and secondary schools, learning centers and DepEd offices in the Central, Regional and Division Levels. 

Private schools are likewise enjoined to adopt the guidelines.

-end-

Reference:


http://www.deped.gov.ph/orders/do-13-s-2017