01 February 2018

EcoWaste Coalition Seeks LGUs’ Use of Lead Safe Paints, Urges DILG to Issue a Directive

A non-profit environmental health organization has sought the help of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in promoting the use of lead safe paints by local government units (LGUs), particularly for publicly-funded projects. 

In a letter delivered to the office of DILG Officer-in-Charge Eduardo Año, the EcoWaste Coalition requested the department to issue a directive in support of the government’s drive led by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to eliminate paints that pose lead hazards to children, workers and other vulnerable groups.

“We seek your earnest support in ensuring that only certified lead safe paints are used by the country’s LGUs in line with the national government’s policy phasing out lead-containing architectural, decorative and household (ADH) paints that took effect in 2017,” wrote Eileen Sison, President, EcoWaste Coalition.

“LGUs,  as a major paint consumer and as a strategic partner in the enforcement of the country’s environmental, health and children’s welfare policies, should take full cognizance of the national and global drive to eliminate lead paint and to fully support it,” she said.

To mainstream the use of certified lead safe paints by the LGUs, the group requested Año to consider issuing a directive complementing DENR A.O. 2013-24, or the Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds, similar to the policy issuances made by the Department of Education and the Department of Social Work and Development in 2017.

DepEd mandated the mandatory use of lead safe paints in schools through Department Order 4, series of 2017, while the DSWD issued a memorandum requiring residential and non-residential facilities managed or operated by the department and accredited agencies to use lead safe paints.

The requested DILG directive, according to the EcoWaste Coalition, should emphasize the adoption of a “Lead Safe Paint Procurement Policy” to ensure that LGUs only purchase and use lead safe paints for painting jobs paid out of public funds.

The said directive should also e
nsure that the other prohibited uses of lead and lead compounds such as the ban on their use in the manufacture of school supplies, toys and other children’s products, including indoor and outdoor playground equipment, are duly observed.

As public information is key to the effective implementation of the policy, the directive should also provide for appropriate activities to be carried out that will sensitize government personnel and the general public about lead exposure sources, symptoms and effects, and preventive measures. 

In this regard, DILG’s and LGUs’ participation in the annual observance of the UN-backed International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action every last week of October,  is recommended by the group.

DENR A.O. 2013-24 bans the manufacture, importation, distribution, sale and use of paints containing lead, a toxic chemical, above the threshold limit of 90 parts per million (ppm). 

It also establishes a three-year phase-out period (2013-2016) of lead-containing paints used for architectural, decorative and household applications, and a six-year phase-out period (2013-2019) of lead-containing paints for industrial applications. 

The ongoing phase-out of lead-containing paints in the
Philippines is in line with the global goal of eliminating such paints by 2020 and their associated hazards and risks to human health, particularly the health of children. 

As stated by the World Health Organization, “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.” 


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