31 October 2017

Cemetery Visitors Urged Not to Burn Candles with Lead-Cored Wicks



The EcoWaste Coalition, a waste and pollution watch group, urged the public to shun imported candles with lead-cored wicks to avoid inhaling health-damaging lead fumes.

The group aired the warning as candle vendors enjoy brisk sales with the observance of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day in the country.

“While the wicks of locally-made candles are often made of braided cotton, some imported candles contain lead-based metal wire inside the wicks that pose safety hazards,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“These candles can emit lead fumes when burned that can contaminate the air and the surroundings with dangerous concentrations of lead, a potent neurotoxin,” he said.

“Based on our experience, leaded wick candles are often sold by specialty stores selling Chinese prayer articles,” he pointed out.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), responding to the request made by the EcoWaste Coalition, issued a “Public Health Advisory on Lead-Cored Wick Candles” in December 2016.

“We went to Chinese candle retailers in Binondo immediately after the issuance of the FDA Advisory, but we are not sure if the importation, distribution and sale of such toxic candles have totally halted,” Dizon said.

FDA Advisory 2016-146 warned “the public against the purchase and use of all candles with wicks containing lead, candles in metal containers that contain lead, and wicks sold for candle-making that contain lead as an imminent hazard to the public health.”

“As a lead-cored wick candle burns, some of the lead may vaporize and be released into the air.  This airborne lead may be inhaled and may deposit onto floors, furniture and other surfaces in the room where children may be exposed to it,” the advisory said.

Exposure to lead emissions, the FDA warned “can result in increased blood lead levels in unborn babies, babies and young children,” adding that “other toxic effects includes neurological damage, delayed mental and physical development, and attention and learning deficiencies.”

To protect public health and the environment, the EcoWaste Coalition urged the public to observe the following safety precautions when lighting candles for their dearly departed in cemeteries,  columbaria and prayer altars:

1.  Read and follow the manufacturer’s safety instructions on candle use.

2.  Do not light candles with lead metal in the wicks; choose candles with cotton and other non-metal wicks.

3.  Prune candlewicks to ¼ inch before lighting the candle as long wicks can cause irregular burning and dripping.

4.  Use sturdy candle holders that will not turn over, catch fire or shatter when they get too hot, and big enough to capture the wax drips; be sure to place the candle holder on a stable, heat resistant and uncluttered surface.

5.  Burn candles in a well-aerated space to lessen indoor air pollution, but keep the candles away from air currents to avoid fast burning and flare-ups.

6.  Always keep a burning candle in sight,  do not leave lighted candles unattended, snuff them out before you leave the room or go to sleep, and make sure they are completely out.

7.  Do not drop matchsticks and other objects into the wax pool.

8.  Keep burning candles away from flammable materials such as paper, books, beddings, curtains, decorations, fabrics, furniture, plastics, etc.

9.  If a candle must burn continuously, ensure that it is placed on a durable candle holder and put it on a ceramic, metal or plastic container filled with water.

10. Keep burning candles out of reach of children and safe from pets; educate the kids that candles are not things to eat or play with.

-end-

Reference:

http://www.fda.gov.ph/advisories-2/cosmetic-2/390455-fda-advisory-no-2016-146

http://www.fda.gov.ph/advisories/cosmetic/112118-fda-advisory-no-2013-041

29 October 2017

"Hallowaste” Monster Draws Attention to Massive Littering in Cemeteries (EcoWaste Coalition Reiterates Its Appeal to the Public Not to Turn Cemeteries into Dumps)












In a bid to call attention to the widespread littering in both public and private cemeteries as Undas is observed nationwide, the EcoWaste Coalition today let loose a monster aptly called “Hallowaste.”

In an advocacy event for a garbage-free Undas, the group presented a youth volunteer donning a costume made of trash, including a bucket overflowing with discarded plastics, impersonating visitors who often leave their rubbish in the cemeteries.


Held at the Manila North Cemetery, the group appealed to the general public not to imitate “Hallowaste,” the omnipresent cemetery litterbug, who recklessly leaves mound of trash in consecrated site.


“We have come here today to ask cemetery visitors not to mimic the ubiquitous ‘Hallowaste’ monster.  Please show some respect for the dead by not dropping any litter in the hallowed ground,’ said Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.


"We need the full cooperation of all visitors to keep the park clean and tidy.  We need the help from everyone to ensure a waste-free environment as millions pay homage to their departed relatives,” said Daniel Tan, Director of Manila North Cemetery, one of the country's oldest and largest public cemeteries. 


"We encourage the public to make the commemoration of All Saints and All Souls Days a prayerful and respectful experience.  Let us show our love and reverence to our dearly departed by keeping the entire cemetery grounds litter-free," said Eric Jamin,  representative of the Diocese of Caloocan Ecology Ministry.


To hammer home their call for a waste-free and toxic-free Undas, youth performers from the MASKARA-Green Stage Filipinas acted out the wasteful habits of cemetery visitors, including the unchecked use of disposable items and single-use plastic bags that end up being dumped or burned.


The group also danced to the tune of the popular “Baby Shark” song to encourage the public to actively back efforts to prevent and reduce cemetery garbage.


The event concluded with volunteers from the EcoWaste Coalition sprucing up the Panteon de los Veteranos de la Revolucion (Mausoleum of the Veterans of the Revolution) inside the Manila North Cemetery.  The group gave the mausoleum, a national historical monument, a fresh coat of paint using a lead safe paint courtesy of Pacific Paint (Boysen) Philippines, Inc.

The EcoWaste Coalition also asked cemetery authorities to strictly enforce Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, in their areas of supervision.
R.A. 9003 explicitly bans and penalizes littering, open dumping, open burning and other unsafe waste disposal practices.


The group also requested adjacent barangays to take proactive waste prevention and reduction measures, including deploying adequate number of personnel and volunteers to ensure the cleanliness of the cemetery environs. 


Also, barangay officials should require vendors to minimize their waste generation by avoiding the use of disposable containers, bags, straws and by providing customers with proper bins for their discards.


Among the groups that participated in the said event organized by the EcoWaste Coalition were the Manila North Cemetery Administration, Manila Health Department (Sanitation Division), Maskara-Green Stage Filipinas, Diocese of Caloocan Ecology Ministry, Our Lady of Angels Seminary, San Roque Parish, and Tzu Chi Foundation.


-end-



EcoWaste Coalition's Ten-Point Green Cemetery Etiquette (Cemetequette)

1. Spruce up and redecorate the grave of your departed ones in a safe and ecological manner without using leaded paints and without  burning or dumping trash by the sidewalk or on other people’s tombs.


2. Put your discards into the recycling bins if available, or bring them home for proper sorting, reusing, recycling or composting


3. Keep the resting place of your loved ones liter-free by not throwing cigarette butts, candy wrappers, discarded packaging, fruit peels, etc. on the ground. 


4. Don’t add to the smoke from burning candles by not smoking or vaping in the cemetery. 


5.  Choose clean-burning candles and do not let the plastic receptacles or holders to burn. Never use candles with lead-cored wicks, which could pose a lead poisoning hazard, especially to young children.

6. Offer local fresh flowers, not plastic ones, or consider bringing potted plants and flowers instead.  Avoid wrapping floral or plant offerings in plastic, which will sooner or later end up as trash.

7. Bring your own water jug to avoid purchasing bottled water. 


8. For waste-free home-prepared meals, use reusable carriers, containers, and utensils.  


9.  Bring only food and beverage that you can consume to avoid spoilage or wastage. 


10. Bring 
bayong or other reusable bags to carry your stuff and purchases, and refuse plastic bags and wrappers from vendors.

27 October 2017

Waste and Pollution Watch Group Releases “Cemetery Etiquette”, Urges the Public Not to Turn Cemeteries into Garbage Dumps

A waste and pollution watch groups today released what it calls the environmental “Cemetery Etiquette," or “Cemetequette,” ahead of All Saints’ Day and All Soul’s Day next week.

The EcoWaste Coalition issued the 10-point “Cemetequette” to promote environmental responsibility among cemetery visitors, stressing that the unashamed generation and dumping of garbage in burial grounds is disrespectful to the dead, as well as to the living.

“We have prepared the Cemetequette to remind Filipinos who will pay homage to their departed family members to mind their trash to avoid transforming cemeteries and columbaria into filthy dumps,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“We hope the public will heed our call for a waste-less observance of Undas as preventing and reducing what we indiscriminately throw away is for the common good,” she added. 

For a waste-free and toxic-free commemoration of Undas, the group urged the general public to observe the following eco-tips:

1. Spruce up and redecorate the grave of your departed ones in a safe and ecological manner without using leaded paints and without  burning or dumping trash by the sidewalk or on other people’s tombs.

2. Put your discards into the recycling bins if available, or bring them home for proper sorting, reusing, recycling or composting

3. Keep the resting place of your loved ones liter-free by not throwing cigarette butts, candy wrappers, discarded packaging, fruit peels, etc. on the ground. 

4. Don’t add to the smoke from burning candles by not smoking or vaping in the cemetery. 

5.  Choose clean-burning candles and do not let the plastic receptacles or holders to burn. Never use candles with lead-cored wicks, which could pose a lead poisoning hazard, especially to young children.

6. Offer local fresh flowers, not plastic ones, or consider bringing potted plants and flowers instead.  Avoid wrapping floral or plant offerings in plastic, which will sooner or later end up as trash.

7. Bring your own water jug to avoid purchasing bottled water. 

8. For waste-free home-prepared meals, use reusable carriers, containers, and utensils.  

9.  Bring only food and beverage that you can consume to avoid spoilage or wastage. 

10. Bring bayong or other reusable bags to carry your stuff and purchases, and refuse plastic bags and wrappers from vendors.

“By observing these eco-tips, we avoid creating unsightly and stinking garbage that can turn off other visitors and, worst of all, pose health risks to everyone,” Lucero said.

The group likewise urged cemetery administrators to put up a practical system that will help visitors to manage their discards in an environmentally-sound way.

To augment their limited staff, cemeteries should tap the services of waste pickers and community volunteers who can assist with the enforcement of laws and ordinances on ecological solid waste management, the group said.

-end-

26 October 2017

E-Waste 'to! Iwasto!


E-Waste to! Iwasto! is the message trumpeted by UNIDO, together with toxics watchdog EcoWaste Coalition, in their e-waste collection drive during UN Week celebration at the Market Market, Taguig City on 23 October 2017. The event is part of the "Safe PCB & E-Waste Management Project" which UNIDO is implementing in the country.

25 October 2017

Paint Companies Urged to Improve Product Labeling, Take Lead Paints Off Store Shelves


A consumer protection group and a waste and pollution watch group together urged paint manufacturers to improve product labeling information to assist consumers in selecting paints that will not pose health hazards, especially to children, women of child-bearing age and workers.

The groups further called on paint makers to voluntarily retrieve old lead-containing architectural, decorative and household (ADH) paints from hardware and paint stores as their sale is no longer permitted following the completion of the three-year phase-out schedule for such paints.

Laban Konsyumer, Inc. and the EcoWaste Coalition issued the appeal as the UN-led International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action on October 22-28 gets underway with a focus on eliminating lead in paints, a common source of childhood lead exposure.

“Paint can labels are an important source of information that will help consumers in selecting products, which are suitable for their needs and which meet safety requirements such as the maximum permissible lead limit,” said Atty. Victor Dimagiba.

“Paint products should provide adequate information about lead and other chemicals of concern on paint can labels, and also provide a precautionary warning that disturbing lead paint creates hazardous dust that is harmful to children, pregnant women and workers,” he added.

For his part, Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner of the EcoWaste Coalition, encouraged paint manufacturers to obtain third-party certification of their compliance to the regulatory lead in paint limit.

“An independent verification that will confirm a product’s compliance to the lead paint regulation will increase consumer confidence that the paint being purchased does not present lead hazards to children and other vulnerable groups,” he said.

“As consumers have the right to know, the certificate of compliance should be posted on the company’s website,” he suggested.

Laban Konsyumer and the EcoWaste Coalition also appealed to concerned paint manufacturers to take back old lead-containing paints that are still in the possession of their distributors and vendors.

Removing lead-containing ADH paints from store shelves will prevent their unlawful sale to consumers.

“Removing such paints from the market will also benefit their manufacturers,” the groups said.

“Paint manufacturers who have already replaced lead in paint formulations should not allow their reputation to be tarnished by old leaded stocks that are still offered for sale even after the phase-out deadline,” they pointed out.   

Both groups also emphasized the importance of a clearly-written manufacturing date and batch number information on the paint can labels to assist consumers in avoiding the purchase of older products that may still contain lead additives.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Administrative Order 2013-24, or the Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds, established 90 parts per million (ppm) as total lead content limit for paints and directed the phase-out of lead-containing ADH from 2013-2016.  Lead-containing paints for industrial applications were provided a longer phase-out schedule from 2013-2019.

The 1991 Philippine National Standard specifications for alkyd-based metal primer (PNS 366:2016) and gloss latex paint (PNS 462:2016) were duly revised to make them aligned with DENR A.O. 2013-24.

According to the 2017 lead in paint report released by the EcoWaste Coalition last Monday, 80 out of 104 samples (77 %) representing 54 brands from 31 manufacturers passed the 90 ppm limit, and 24 of 104 samples (23%) failed.  

The study conducted in collaboration with IPEN (an international NGO network promoting safe chemicals policies and practices) reiterated the need to stop the use of lead-based ingredients in paint formulations, especially by paint companies that still produce lead paints.

-end-

Reference:

http://server2.denr.gov.ph/uploads/rmdd/dao-2013-24.pdf
http://www.ipen.org/documents/philippines-lead-paint

24 October 2017

EcoWaste Coalition Urges Halloween Event Organizers to Avoid “Hallowaste”


A waste and pollution watch group today urged Halloween trick-or-treat organizers to aim for an eco-friendly event to minimize what the group calls as “hallowaste.”

The EcoWaste Coalition advised Sangguniang Kabataan (SKs) organizing neighborhood trick-or-treat parade to go for a zero waste celebration to cut down on trash as well as spending.

“Even if Halloween trick-or-treating is not typically a Filipino culture, we seem to have adapted it with toy stores, shopping malls and hotels cashing in on this popular US feast,” observed Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Halloween street events, often led by SKs in urban barangays, are becoming common with kids dressing up, showing off their costumes, and asking for candy treats,” he noted.

“With the barangay and SK elections scheduled in May 2018, it will not be surprising to see more fun activities such as Halloween parades and parties as those seeking elective posts try to make their names and faces known to their constituents,” he said.

“Unfortunately, Halloween celebrations can be wasteful in terms of money spent, materials used, and garbage produced,” he added.

To avoid the wastefulness that often blights popular celebrations, the EcoWaste Coalition has come up with tips on how to prevent and reduce “hallowaste.”

Here are the group’s “hallowaste” prevention and reduction tips:

1.   Create costumes from repurposed items to avoid buying expensive ready-made Halloween attires and accessories.    With an ounce of creativity, parents and kids can turn old clothes and fabrics into something fun or spooky.  Another option is to borrow or swap costumes with a friend or relative, or to buy from a hand-me-down thrift store.

2.  Try natural substitutes to face paint, which may contain lead and other harmful substances.  These alternatives are commonly found in the kitchen such as food-grade coloring, achiote seeds, turmeric, cocoa powder, cornstarch, etc.

3.  Use reusable cloth bags or old socks for Halloween goodies in lieu of plastic pumpkin, skull or character buckets.

4.  Consider healthier alternatives to candies with little nutritional value and often wrapped in plastic that is hardly recycled.  Treat kids with wholesome food such home-made cookies or sandwiches in paper napkins or small paper bags.  Give them bananas and other fruits in season like lanzones and rambutan.

5.  Use the occasion to sensitize kids on caring for the environment such as by not throwing candy, cookie or sandwich wrappers and fruit peelings on the ground.  Start ‘em young on ecological waste management.

For a safer Halloween celebration, the EcoWaste Coalition advised the public to refrain from buying costumes, accessories and decors that are coated with paint unless certified as lead-safe.

The group further cautioned the public from buying Halloween toys made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic, especially items that can be ingested, mouthed or sucked, that may contain toxic phthalates, which are added to such plastic to make it pliable and soft.

The public should refrain from purchasing toys that are improperly labeled and have not been issued the proper authorization by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the form of acknowledged product notifications for toys and childcare articles (TCCAs).

According to the FDA, the use of TCCAs that have not gone through the agency’s verification process may pose potential health hazards to consumers.

“Potential hazards may come from materials that are not allowed to be part of a TCCA product or being exposed to chemicals that can leach out from the product such as phthalates and nitrosamines.”

-end-

23 October 2017

Philippines Marks Phase-Out of Lead-Containing Paints (Environmentalists Laud Progress in Eliminating Lead in Solvent-Based Paints in the Philippines)

















As the UN-led International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action (ILPPWA) gets underway, public interest groups commended the country’s remarkable progress in phasing out lead-containing paints used for homes, schools and other decorative applications.

In an event held at the San Vicente Elementary School in Quezon City made festive by the school’s drum and lyre and rondalla bands and the mass dancing of children for lead safe paints to the tune of the popular “Baby Shark” song, the EcoWaste Coalition acknowledged the positive steps undertaken by most paint manufacturers to remove lead in paint formulations and minimize the hazards posed by such paints, especially to children’s health.

During the event, messages of support from Vice President Leni  Robredo, Senator JV Ejercito (Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography) and Representative Ging Suansing (Chair of the House Committee on Ecology) were also read before the enthusiastic crowd of over 550 people.

The EcoWaste  Coalition reported the decline in lead-containing decorative paints sold in hardware and paint stores as shown in the latest study it conducted in collaboration with IPEN (a global NGO network promoting safe chemicals policies and practices).

Comparing the three studies undertaken by the EcoWaste Coalition and IPEN in 2013, 2015 and 2017, data show a significant decrease in the percentage of paints with lead levels above the regulatory limit of 90 parts per million (ppm) from 61 percent in 2013, 69 percent in 2015, to 24 percent in 2017.

The percentage of paints with dangerously high lead levels equal to or greater than 10,000 ppm also dropped from 39 percent in 2013, 45 percent in 2015, to 12 percent in 2017.

To emphasize this milestone in public health, government, industry and civil society representatives unveiled a mock store selling 50 paint brands that were among those found to conform with the regulatory limit for lead in paint.

“This independent NGO study proves that majority of the country’s paint manufacturers, including small- and medium-sized enterprises, have taken steps to meet the terms of the country’s landmark lead paint regulation.  The results offer a good barometer of the overall capacity of the domestic paint industry to comply with it,”  said Eileen Sison, President, EcoWaste Coalition.

“The results further provide a strong justification to actively monitor the lead content of paints sold in the market to track and document progress, and to ensure full compliance to the CCO,” said Manny Calonzo, Adviser, IPEN Global Lead Paint Elimination Campaign.

“As partner of the EcoWaste Coalition, IPEN and the DENR, as well as the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint, we are working with fervor to replace lead additives in paints in line with the state policy and our corporate social and environmental responsibility,” said  Vergel Dyoco, Director, Philippine Association of Paint Manufacturers (PAPM).

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources issued Administrative Order 2013-24, or the Chemical Control Order, which set a 90 ppm total lead content limit in paint.  To assist the industry in shifting to lead-free paint formulations, the CCO provided for a three-year phase-out period (2013-2016) for lead-containing paints used for architectural, decorative and household applications, and a longer six-year phase-out period (2013-2019) for paints used for industrial applications.

In a statement prepared for this year’s ILPPWA, Dr. Maria Neira Director of the World Health Organization (WHO) said: “Lead paint is a serious threat to the long-term health of our children. Yet lead paint is still on sale in many countries and is used to decorate homes and schools. WHO calls on all countries to phase out lead paint by 2020 to protect the health of this and future generations.”

WHO considers lead paint “a major flashpoint” for children’s potential lead poisoning, saying that “since the phase-out of leaded petrol, lead paint is one of the largest sources of exposure to lead in children.”

“Continued use of lead paint is a primary source of childhood lead exposure,” added Dr. Sara Brosché, IPEN’s Global Lead Paint Elimination Campaign Manager. “Children – especially those under 6 years of age – ingest or inhale lead through exposure to dust or soil contaminated with lead-based paint and normal hand-to-mouth behavior or when they chew on toys, household furniture or other articles painted with lead paint.”

To further support the country’s switch to lead safe paints, the EcoWaste Coalition and IPEN recommend the following to individual, household, and institutional paint consumers:

1. Demand paints with no added lead from paint manufacturers, as well as full disclosure of a paint product’s lead content.

2. Ask for, consciously buy, and apply only paints with no added lead in places frequently used by children such as homes, schools, daycare centers, parks, and playgrounds.

3. Adopt a “Lead Safe Paint Procurement Policy” to ensure that only certified lead safe paints and products are purchased in compliance with government regulations to protect employees, customers and the public against the harmful effects of lead exposure.

-end-

Reference:

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

22 October 2017

Groups Cite Benefits of Phasing Out Leaded Paints in the Philippines


Environmental, health and labor groups cited the country’s ongoing effort to phase out lead, a toxic chemical, in paint, as a step in the right direction that will benefit millions of Filipino children, mothers and workers today and the future generations. 

The groups lauded the government’s decision to phase out leaded paints as the International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action is commemorated from October 22 to 28 to raise awareness and promote action to address the human health effects of lead exposure, particularly for children. The Week of Action is spearheaded by the United Nations Environment and the World Health Organization (WHO)                

“While many developing countries have yet to enact mandatory lead paint standards and regulations, our country took a bold decision to phase out lead in paints with the primary goal of protecting vulnerable populations, particularly the children, women of child-bearing age and the workers,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Working hand in hand, government, industry and civil society leaders took part in several consultative and technical meetings that paved the way to the adoption of a groundbreaking regulation in the form of a Chemical Control Order (CCO),” he added.

The CCO for lead and lead compounds released in 2013 by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) provides the road map to the country’s transition to paints without lead additives.

The CCO stipulates for a three-year phase-out schedule from 2013 to 2016 for lead-containing architectural, decorative and household (ADH) paints, and a six-year phase-out period (2013-2019) for lead-containing industrial paints.  It also sets a total lead content limit of 90 parts per million (ppm), the world’s strictest regulatory standard for lead in paint.

The three-year phase-out period for ADH paints provided paint manufacturers, including small- and medium-sized enterprises, to find suitable replacements to lead used to enhance color, make drying faster or reduce corrosion on metal surfaces. 

“The phase-out of leaded paints is good news for our children’s brains as childhood lead exposure is known to harm the brain causing reduced intelligence and mental retardation,” said Ines Fernandez, Founder of Arugaan, a mother-led movement promoting breastfeeding and child and maternal health.

For her part, Dr. Angelina Galang, President of Green Convergence, said: "The phase-out of leaded paints will protect our children from the detrimental effects of lead, which can harm them at much lower doses.  Health authorities have concluded there is no known level of lead exposure deemed safe for children."  

“Replacing lead additives in the production of paints with safe alternatives will minimize occupational exposures to lead. Workers in paint manufacturing, construction, painting, renovation, demolition and related sectors will benefit from a toxic-free working environment that is safe from lead and other hazardous substances,” said Allan Tanjusay, Spokesperson, Associated Labor Unions – Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP).

Eliminating lead paint now is more cost-effective than remediating lead-contaminated homes, schools and other facilities used by children later, the groups said.

In US, as per estimate by the Environmental Protection Agency the costs for lead paint abatement range from $8 to $15 per square foot, and a typical house will require a minimum of $10,000 to treat.

Above all, removing lead in paint will prevent dust and soil from being contaminated by lead from chipping or deteriorating lead painted surfaces that can be ingested or inhaled by children, the groups added. 

Lead, according to WHO, is especially dangerous to children's developing brains, and causes reduced intelligence quotient (IQ) and attention span, impaired learning ability, and increased risk of behavioral problems. 

“Lead paint is a serious threat to the long-term health of our children. WHO calls on all countries to phase out lead paint by 2020 to protect the health of this and future generations,” said Dr. Maria Neira Director of the Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health for the WHO.

To encourage further industry compliance to the phase-out of lead paint, the EcoWaste Coalition on Monday will hold an event to mark the country’s achievement so far in removing lead in AHD paints.

The group will release the findings of its latest study in collaboration with IPEN (a global NGO network for a toxics-free future) showing a significant reduction in the number of leaded solvent-based AHD paints sold in the market.


-end-

Reference:

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



21 October 2017

Many Toys Sold in Cebu Improperly Labeled (Group Pushes Proper Toy Labeling to Ensure Children’s Safety)

 Inadequately labeled toys bought in Cebu City
 Toy samples with high lead content
 Not properly labeled mini grow-in-water toys
Toy ukuleles decorated with lead-containing paints

As the observance of the Consumer Welfare Month draws to a close next week, a non-profit watch group called attention to toys sold in Cebu that lack the required product labeling information.

“We bought assorted toys from various retail outlets in Cebu and Lapu-Lapu Cities to check on their compliance with the required labeling information, which is very important to guide consumers on picking the right toy for a child that will not pose risk to her or his health and safety,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

The toy products, costing P25 to P200 each, were obtained by the group from toy and souvenir stores in Cebu and Lapu-Lapu Cities on September 28 to 29, 2017.

The toys were brought to the office of the EcoWaste Coalition in Quezon City for product label examination and for heavy metal screening using an X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) chemical analyzer.  

Out of 79 toy samples, only three were found to be compliant with the mandatory toy labeling information required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency that oversees the product notification scheme for toy and childcare articles (TCCas).

As per FDA Circular 2014-023, duly notified TCCAs should contain the following product labeling labeling information: license to operate (LTO) number, age grade, cautionary statements/ warnings, instructional literature, item/ model/ stock keeping unit (SKU) number, and manufacturer’s marking, including the complete name and address of the manufacturer or distributor.

Of the 79 toy samples, 15 were found to contain lead, a toxic chemical that can have serious effects for the health of children, above the regulatory limit of 90 parts per million (ppm).

High lead concentrations were detected on unlabeled toy ukuleles and fridge magnet toys.  The paint coating of a mango-shape toy ukulele had 12,300 ppm of lead, while the paint coating of a fridge magnet toy had 7,092 ppm of lead.   

The group also found three mini grow-in-water toys, which are not properly labeled and which are dangerous if swallowed by children.

“The use of lead-containing paints to decorate toys is a brazen violation of the country’s lead paint regulation,” Dizon said.

DENR Administrative Order 2013-24, or the Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds, strictly prohibits the use of lead paint in the production of toys, among other things.

Improperly labeled toys should not be offered for sale in the market if only Republic Act 10620, or the Toy and Game Safety Labeling Act of 2013, is enforced, the EcoWaste Coalition said.

Under the said law, toy products “not in compliance with the requirements of this Act shall be considered a misbranded or banned hazardous substance… and withdrawn from the market.”
   
R.A. 10620 states that non-compliant toys and games “shall be withdrawn from the market at the expense of the manufacturer or importer and shall not be allowed to be distributed, sold or offered for sale in the Philippines.”

Approved in September 2013, R.A. 10620 requires the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to “regularly publish every six months the list of all manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers who failed to comply with the requirements” of this law.

It further requires the Department of Health (DOH) to “publish every six months the list of all misbranded or banned hazardous substances the sale, offer for sale and distribution of which shall not be allowed” under R.A. 10620.

To date, the DTI and DOH have yet to promulgate the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of R.A. 10620.

“We hope concerned groups in Cebu and elsewhere will join us in demanding the promulgation of R.A. 10620’s IRR for the health and safety of our children as toy consumers,” Dizon said.

The EcoWaste Coalition and Laban Konsyumer, Inc., a consumer protection group,  have been asking the authorities to release the much-delayed IRR toward the full enforcement of R.A. 10620.

-end-

Reference:

http://www.lawphil.net/statute s/repacts/ra2013/ra_10620_ 2013.html

16 October 2017

Many Toys Sold in Davao Improperly Labeled (Group Pushes Proper Toy Labeling to Ensure Children’s Safety)

 Inadequately labeled toys bought in Davao City

Toy samples with high lead content

Davao City/Quezon City.  As the observance of the Consumer Welfare Month gets underway, a non-profit watch group drew attention to toys sold in Davao City that lack the required product labeling information.

“We have bought assorted toys from various retail outlets in Davao City to check on their compliance with the required labeling information, which is very important to guide consumers on picking the right toy for a child that will not pose risk to her or his health and safety,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

The toy products, costing P15 to P265 each, were obtained by the group from various retail stores in Uyanguren, Davao City on September 22 to 24, 2017.

The toys were brought to the office of the EcoWaste Coalition in Quezon City for product label examination and for heavy metal screening using an X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) chemical analyzer.  

Out of 71 toy samples, only three were found to be compliant with the mandatory toy labeling information required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency that oversees the product notification scheme for toy and childcare articles (TCCAs).

As per FDA Circular 2014-023, duly notified TCCAs should contain the following product labeling labeling information: license to operate (LTO) number, age grade, cautionary statements/ warnings, instructional literature, item/ model/ stock keeping unit (SKU) number, and manufacturer’s marking, including the complete name and address of the manufacturer or distributor.

Five of the toy samples indicated valid LTO numbers on the labels as verified through the FDA website, the group noted.

Of the 71 toy samples, 18 were found to contain lead, a toxic chemical that can have serious effects for the health of children, above the regulatory limit of 90 parts per million (ppm).

High lead concentrations up to 8,105 ppm were detected on the paint coatings of five turumpo, a popular outdoor game among boys.  The wooden whipping tops have zero labeling information.

“The use of lead-containing paints to decorate turumpo and other toys is a brazen violation of the country’s lead paint regulation,” Dizon said.

DENR Administrative Order 2013-24, or the Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds, strictly prohibits the use of lead paint in the production of toys, among other things.

Improperly labeled toys should not be offered for sale in the market if only Republic Act 10620, or the Toy and Game Safety Labeling Act of 2013, is enforced, the EcoWaste Coalition said.

Under the said law, toy products “not in compliance with the requirements of this Act shall be considered a misbranded or banned hazardous substance… and withdrawn from the market.”
   
R.A. 10620 states that non-compliant toys and games “shall be withdrawn from the market at the expense of the manufacturer or importer and shall not be allowed to be distributed, sold or offered for sale in the Philippines.”

Approved in September 2013, R.A. 10620 requires the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to “regularly publish every six months the list of all manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers who failed to comply with the requirements” of this law.

It further requires the Department of Health (DOH) to “publish every six months the list of all misbranded or banned hazardous substances the sale, offer for sale and distribution of which shall not be allowed” under R.A. 10620.

To date, the DTI and DOH have yet to promulgate the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of R.A. 10620.

“We hope concerned groups in Davao and elsewhere will join us in demanding the promulgation of R.A. 10620’s IRR for the health and safety of our children as toy consumers,” Dizon said.

The EcoWaste Coalition and Laban Konsyumer, Inc., a consumer protection group, have been asking the authorities to release the much-delayed IRR toward the full enforcement of R.A. 10620.

-end-

Reference:

http://www.lawphil.net/statute s/repacts/ra2013/ra_10620_ 2013.html

07 October 2017

Urban Poor Residents Get their Hands Dirty to Grow Organic Food , Keep Communities Clean







Over 150 urban poor residents from Camarin, Caloocan City literally got their hands dirty today for a solution-focused event to combat malnutrition and pollution.   

To mark the Green Action Week (GAW) on October 2 to 8, the EcoWaste Coalition in collaboration with Buklod Tao and the Urban Poor Associates (UPA) organized a hands-on skillshare in San Mateo, Rizal on how to raise organic vegetables through container gardening and how to turn biodegradable discards into compost.  


GAW is a global campaign promoting sustainable consumption initiated by the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, 
Sweden’s oldest and largest environmental organization and a partner of the EcoWaste Coalition.

“We have gathered today for a face-to-face learning with Buklod Tao community leaders on organic farming and composting that can help urban poor families improve nutritional intake as well as prevent trash from stinking,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.  


Dizon cited government data indicating high chronic malnutrition rate at over 25% in 2015 among children from age 0 to 2 that is aggravated by the unchecked consumption of foods high in trans fat, sugar and salt.  


“The lack of physical space should not discourage urban poor households from organically growing basic vegetables using repurposed containers such as juice packs, tin cans and plastic bottles, which can be placed in front of a house, by the rooftop or arranged as hanging planters,” he said.


“Venturing into organic food gardening will also encourage our households to segregate their discards at source and turn fruit and vegetable peelings and other biodegradables into compost,” added Noli Abinales, adviser, Buklod Tao, a people’s organization advocating for an environmentally-responsible and climate-resilient community.


“Composting is a key solution to the poor waste management in many communities, which can lead to a host of environmental and health problems such as the spread of diseases, flooding and global warming,” he said.


Abinales noted that Metro Manila generates 9,499 tons of waste per day consisting of biodegradable 
(44.32%), recyclable (31.64%), residuals (23.68) and special (0.36%) wastes as per waste characterization and analysis by the Metro Manila Development Authority.

UPA community leader Luz Sudueste from 
Caloocan City expressed her hope that similar skillshares will  be held in all urban poor communities with support from national and local authorities and civil society groups.

“Organic food gardening and composting is beneficial for our families and our environment.  We hope that similar trainings will be conducted in urban poor communities nationwide to help address the people’s need for nutritious food and for better waste management and sanitation,” she said.   


The participants brought home with them vegetable saplings planted on compost-enriched soil in a recycled pot container made out of juice packs courtesy of Buklod Tao.


The participants came from various groups including the Camarin Balikatan Community Association, Dagat-Dagatan Camarin Homeowners’ Association, Epiphany of the Lord Credit Cooperative, Kapatiran ng mga Maralita sa Camarin, Mabini-Lapu-Lapu Neighborhood Association, Samahan ng mga Responsableng Anak ng Nayon, and the San Vicente Ferrer Urban Coordinating Development Association.


-end-  

Go organic for a greener planet!

Does it matter if it´s organic or not? The short answer is yes, it does. It makes a difference for you, your children, the bees, the farmers, the trees and the rivers. It makes an important difference to our planet. Organic food and farming for all is the Green Action Week theme for 2013-2017.
5 reasons to choose organic food

1. Toxic free!

Organic farming does not use agrochemicals like pesticides as these can be harmful for the environment and human health. Pesticides pose a risk to the health of farming families and people working on farms, who are directly exposed. But also to those living nearby who may be exposed to spray drift, polluted water, soil or waste from the farms. Research shows that eating organic food reduces exposure to hazardous pesticides.

2. More birds, plants and bees!                                                                  

Biodiversity is essential to make nature work. Did you know that the threat to biodiversity is as acute as the climate threat? Organic farmers plant a wide variety of crops rather than just one big field of the same. This and other organic methods increase the range of species of natural plants, birds, animals and insects in the soil and around the farm.

3. Knowledge instead of chemicals!

We need to change the way we produce and consume food. Studies show that solutions for the future can be found in organic agriculture. Instead of using agrochemicals organic farmers use knowledge. They use a greater diversity of crops and varieties – often indigenous. This generally gives better protection against drought and diseases, thus reducing risks for the farmer. In many parts of the world, the production methods used also increase the yields.

4. More jobs and higher incomes!

Organic farming is often more diversified and creates more jobs. Often, the production costs for the farmers are lower and profits higher when they no longer have to buy chemical fertilizers, pesticides and seeds.

5. Help organic farming grow!

Over 70% of the world’s poor live in rural areas and most of them are involved in farming. The majority of these small scale farmers already grow organic or close to. Buying organic products leads to increased production and incomes, improved local food security and a cleaner and greener environment.

http://greenactionweek.org/go-organic-for-a-greener-planet/