With lead content exceeding the regulatory limit.
The EcoWaste Coalition, a non-profit watch group on toxic chemicals, lauded local craft makers for the apparent shift to lead-free paints for decorating dog-inspired figurines in celebration of the Chinese New Year of the Earth Dog.
According to the group’s latest screening of painted lucky dog figurines using a handheld X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) analyzer, eight of the 12 samples bought from street vendors in Quiapo, Manila for P25 to P250 each were found to contain no detectable lead.
The other four samples had lead levels ranging from 205, 395, 795 and 6,578 parts per million (ppm) exceeding the regulatory limit of 90 ppm for lead in paint.
“While not all samples were negative for lead, we recognize the obvious switch to lead-free decorative paints by local craft makers, many of which are small-sized enterprises. This is a good indicator of the efforts by commercial paint consumers to fit with the nation’s progressive shift to paints without added lead,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
“We hope that by 2019, the year of the Earth Pig, all lucky pig figurines on sale will be solely decorated with lead-free paints,” he added.
In 2016, the year of the Fire Monkey, lead content up to 7,800 ppm was detected in brightly colored lucky monkey figurines, while in 2017, the year of the Fire Rooster, lead up to 5,032 ppm was detected in lucky rooster figurines.
Lead, a chemical that is harmful to human health, especially to the brain and the central nervous system, is considered one of the “ten chemicals of major public health concern” by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Studies have shown that lead exposure at an early age can result to reduced intelligence, speech and language difficulties, hearing loss, decreased bone and muscle growth, increased blood pressure, kidney damage and behavioral problems, including aggression and violence.
Lead exposure among adults can bring about miscarriage in women, reduced sperm count in men, hypertension and other health problems.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Administrative Order 2013-24, or the Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds, directed the phase out of lead-containing architectural, household and decorative paints effective December 31, 2016 after a three-year phase-out period.
“To facilitate informed consumer choice, we suggest that craft makers duly label their products,” Dizon suggested.