EcoWaste Coalition Welcomes Industry Assurance that Latex Paints are Mercury-Free

The EcoWaste Coalition, a watch group on toxic chemicals, products and wastes, lauded the country’s paint manufacturers for assuring the public that latex paints being sold in
the market are free of mercury.

“We commend our paint makers for producing mercury-free water-based paint formulations. This augurs well for the industry’s progressive shift to lead-free solvent-based paints used for decorative and industrial applications.  This is really a good news for the Filipino family as both lead and mercury are known neurotoxins that are particularly dangerous for pregnant women and children,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

Through a statement, the Philippine Association of Paint Manufacturers (PAPM) said that paint makers “have not used or have long since halted the use of mercury-based preservatives in latex paint formulations.”

Boysen and Davies, for example, have been making mercury-free latex paints since the late 1970s, way ahead of the US ban on mercury in interior latex paint in 1990 and exterior latex paint in 1991.

“The use of phenylmercuric acetate and other mercury compounds as biocide, fungicide or mildewcide, particularly in latex paints, is a thing of the past as alternative paint preservatives to prolong a product’s shelf-life without causing serious health risks are available in the raw materials market,” the PAPM said.

The PAPM made the statement amid the ongoing work to update the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Administrative Order (AO) 1997-38, or the Chemical Control Order (CCO) for Mercury and Mercury Compounds, in preparation for the country’s ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury.

The PAPM is one with the government, industry and the civil society in promoting the ratification and implementation of the Minamata Convention, a globally binding agreement that aims to prevent and reduce mercury pollution to protect public health and the environment, the statement said.

The PAPM, in particular, poses no objection to the removal of the use of mercury and mercury compounds in paint manufacturing as an allowable use under DENR A.O. 1997-38, which was promulgated almost 20 years ago.

“Our strong support for mercury-free paint and for lead-safe paint is consistent with the industry thrust to provide the market with eco-friendly paints,  and in line with the DENR AO 2013-24, or the CCO for Lead and Lead Compounds, and the international goal of eliminating lead paint by 2020 as declared by the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint,” the PAPM said.

The PAPM also reiterated its “commitment to greener innovations and to meaningful collaborations with the DENR, the EcoWaste Coalition and IPEN (a global civil society network promoting safe chemicals policies and practices) for the benefit of our customers and our nation.”

The paint industry statement is very timely as the Minamata Convention on Mercury is scheduled to enter into force on August 16, 2017.