24 March 2018

Groups Support Braga’s Lead Safe Paint Initiative in Davao City

Environmental health groups welcomed the proposal made by District 1 Councilor Pilar Braga calling on the City Council to enact an ordinance requiring the use of lead safe paints in construction, maintenance and renovation projects and activities of the City of Davao.
“The mandatory use of lead safe paints in the City of Davao, in support of the national government’s policy and program to eliminate lead paint, will prevent children’s exposure to lead via leaded paints as well as reduce occupational exposures to such paints,” Braga told the City Council through a privilege speech last month.

The Interface Development Interventions (IDIS) and the EcoWaste Coalition welcomed Braga’s lead safe paint initiative as this will promote the public’s health, safety and welfare, as well as advance a toxic-free environment for the benefit the city’s over 1.6 million residents.

“We thank Councilor Braga for initiating this well-timed proposal in line with the phase-out of lead-containing paints nationwide.  The mandatory purchase and use of lead safe paints for city projects and activities will safeguard all Davaoeñosespecially the young children, pregnant women and workers, from the detrimental effects of lead exposure to human health and the environment,” said Chinkie Peliño-Golle, Executive Director, Interface Development Interventions (IDIS).

“We look forward to the filing and eventual adoption of an ordinance that will potentially make Davao City as the first local government unit (LGU) to explicitly require the use of paints without lead additives for painting jobs paid out of public funds in compliance with the directive from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG),” stated Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

DILG Memorandum Circular 2018-26 on the “Mandatory Use of Lead Safe Paints by LGUs” issued by OIC Eduardo M. Año last February 28 enjoins the country’s LGUs - from the provinces to the barangays - to “support the phase-out of lead-containing paints and eventually reduce the hazards and risks posed by such paints to human health."

Lead-containing paint and lead-contaminated dust are recognized as major sources of lead exposure among children that can cause irreparable damage to the brain and the central nervous system, resulting in reduced intelligence and behavioral disorders, the groups said. 

The groups explained that lead discharged into the environment makes its way into the air, land, and water. Painting activities, particularly the haphazard removal of lead painted surfaces, release lead particulates that can contaminate waterways such as rivers, creeks and can even reach underlying aquifers that affect drinking water quality. Also, lead deposited in soils may be retained for up to 2,000 years and can be absorbed by plants through their leaves and roots, posing risks to the ecosystems and human health.

“There is no known level of lead exposure that is considered safe,” according to the World Health Organization, which has also classified lead as one of the “ten chemicals of major public health concern.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Administrative Order 2013-24, or the Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds, prohibits paints and other surface coatings with lead content above 90 parts per million (ppm).

The groundbreaking regulation paved the way for eventual phase-out of lead-containing paints for architectural, decorative and household applications in December 2016 following a three-year transition period.  

Lead-based paints used for industrial applications are targeted for phase-out by December 2019.


Privilege Speech on Lead Paints by Councilor Pilar C. Braga


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