28 April 2018

Barangay and SK Candidates Told to Go Easy on Tarpaulins Containing Toxic Cadmium

A waste and pollution watch group urged candidates for the upcoming Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan polls to go easy on tarpaulin posters laced with cadmium, a cancer-causing chemical.

The EcoWaste Coalition issued the toxic alert amid the frenzy as the start of the official nine-day campaign period starts on May 4.

"Tarpaulins such as those made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic often contain cadmium, a chemical that is deemed extremely harmful to human health and the environment,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

As the campaign period is limited to nine days and will only cover a small geographical area, the EcoWaste Coalition encouraged Barangay and SK candidates not to focus their resources on the quantity of tarpaulins and other campaign materials to be made and disseminated.

“Voters will surely remember candidates who have taken the trouble of visiting their homes and neighborhoods not only to shake hands but, more importantly, to chat with them about their concerns and how the Barangay and the SK could be of assistance to their lives,” Dizon said.

To draw attention to this health and environmental threat, the EcoWaste Coalition had 10 new campaign tarpaulins done by different signage makers in Caloocan, Quezon ang Taguig Cities.  The tarpaulins, measuring 18 x 24 inches and costing P36 to P150 each, carried the names of popular teleserye characters as Barangay and SK candidates.

The group subjected each tarpaulin to chemical analysis using an X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) device to determine if the material contains cadmium, which is used as stabilizer or coloring agent in PVC plastic.

Out of 10 tarpaulins, 10 yielded cadmium in the range of 1,028 to 1,536 parts per million (ppm), way beyond the European Union’s limit of 100 ppm for cadmium in plastics . 

The tarpaulins of the following supposed candidates were found to contain the highest concentrations of cadmium:

1.  "Crisanta Bautista," 1,536 ppm
2.  "Ricardo Dalisay," 1,156 ppm
3.  "Jong Generoso Jr.," 1,120 ppm
4.  "Matadora," 1,104 ppm
5.  "Lakas," 1,087 ppm
6.  "Perla Nunez," 1,080 ppm

“We are concerned that cadmium-containing tarpaulins are adding to the growing toxicity of the waste stream that our society generates,” Dizon said.

"The PVC plastic scraps from signage makers, as well as the used tarpaulins, are disposed of like ordinary trash and hauled to dumpsites and landfills for disposal where their cadmium and other chemical additives can be released as the materials degrade,” he explained.

“These chlorinated materials may also end up being burned in dumps, cement kilns and incinerators triggering the formation and release of even more toxic pollutants such as dioxins and furans,” he pointed out.

“Perhaps it’s high time for government regulators to adopt a chemical control order for cadmium so as to reduce, if not eliminate,  their use in the production of plastic and other materials and lessen their health and environmental impacts,” he added.

Cadmium belongs to the list of priority chemicals determined by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) “to potentially cause unreasonable risk to public health, workplace, and the environment.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) also considers cadmium, along with arsenic, asbestos, lead and mercury, among the “ten chemicals of major public health concern.”

Cadmium, according to WHO, “exerts toxic effects on the kidney, the skeletal and the respiratory systems, and is classified as a human carcinogen.”

-end- 

Reference:

https://chemical.emb.gov.ph/?page_id=52
http://www.who.int/ipcs/assessment/public_health/ cadmium/en/
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:32011R0494&from=EN

Note: European Commission Regulation No. 494/2011 prohibits manufacturers from placing mixtures and articles produced from plastic material containing cadmium “equal to or greater than 0.01 % by weight,” or 100 ppm.

24 April 2018

Filipino Campaigner for Lead Safe Paint Receives Goldman Environmental Prize (PH Success in Phasing Out Lead-Containing Paints Gets the Spotlight)


San Francisco, USA/Manila, Philippines. 23/24 April 2018 — The US-based Goldman Environmental Foundation today announced seven recipients of the 2018 Goldman Environmental Prize, the world’s largest award for grassroots environmental activists.

Among those honored at a huge ceremony held in the San Francisco Opera House was Manny Calonzo, former president of the EcoWaste Coalition and adviser of the Global Lead Paint Elimination Campaign of IPEN (an international NGO network for a toxics-free future). 

Calonzo was selected by an international jury from confidential nominations for spearheading a fruitful advocacy campaign banning the production, sale and use of paints containing lead, a cumulative poison targeting the brain and the central nervous system.

Calonzo and the EcoWaste-IPEN team conducted studies that generated data on lead content of solvent-based decorative paints sold in the Philippines; organized awareness-raising activities on lead poisoning prevention; built links and alliances with the paint industry and other stakeholders; pushed for mandatory lead paint standard and regulation; and promoted the world's first  third-party Lead Safe Paint Certification program. 

The other Goldman Environmental Prize winners this year are Francia Marquez from Colombia, Claire Nouvian from France, Makoma Lekalakala and Liz McDaid from South Africa, Leeanne Walters from USA, and Khanh Nguy Thi from Vietnam.  The prize was established in 1989 by San Francisco civic leaders and philanthropists Richard and Rhoda Goldman.

Calonzo dedicated the award to Filipino children and youth, including those yet to be born, who deserve to grow and develop in a pollution-free environment that will not expose them to lead in paint and dust, which can result in life-long decrease in intelligence and other adverse health impacts.

“To protect and foster the brains and bodies of our children and youth, and improve the safety of their living, learning and playing environments, the Philippines took the crucial decision to ban lead-containing paints, a major source of childhood lead exposure,” Calonzo told the cheering crowd of 3,000 people.

“By phasing out lead-containing decorative paints in 2016 and lead-containing paints for industrial uses by 2019, we hope to achieve a lead safe paint market by 2020 and ensure a lead safe environment for all, especially for children and babies still growing in the womb,” he emphasized.

Reflecting the collaborative nature of the campaign, Calonzo acknowledged the constructive alliances and relationships forged among partners from the government, industry, civil society, health sector and the academia.  “With key stakeholders on board and working together, and with support from top environment and health officials, we carried out a spirited campaign to eliminate lead paint, an entirely preventable source of lead exposure,” he said.

“This recognition of our collective success in the Philippines, I hope, will inspire global efforts to ban lead paints, particularly in developing countries, at a much faster tempo.  While a few countries have in recent years adopted binding lead paint laws and regulations, much work remains to adequately address this serious human health hazard,” he said.   

“No nation in which lead paints are still produced and consumed can claim to have made real progress in ensuring children’s health and safety,” he pointed out.

Calonzo commended the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Philippine Association of Paint Manufacturers, EcoWaste Coalition, IPEN and the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint for their contributions to the successful campaign.

He specifically recognized Pacific Paint (Boysen) Philippines. Inc. and Davies Paints Philippines for being the first two companies in the world to earn the Lead Safe Paint® mark under a new third-party certification program. Another Philippine paint company, Sycwin Coatings and Wires Inc., is undergoing lead content verification under this program.  

It will be recalled that the groundbreaking Chemical Control Order on Lead and Lead Compounds (CCO) issued by the DENR in 2013  paved the way for the eventual phase-out in December 2016 of lead-containing architectural, household and decorative paints following a three-year phase-out period.  The same regulation provides for the phase out in 2019 of lead-containing paints for industrial applications after a six-year transition period

Under the Duterte administration, supplemental directives were issued in 2017 and 2018 by the Department of Education, Department of Social Welfare and Development, and the Department of Interior and Local Government to mainstream the mandatory procurement and use of lead safe paints, the EcoWaste Coalition noted.

“The continuing collaboration by the government, industry and civil society, backed by informed and vigilant paint consumers,  is crucial in ensuring full compliance to the CCO goals and targets.  As children's lives do matter, we need to keep the environment safe from lead, mercury and other pollutants that can impede childhood growth and development and negatively affect their future,” Calonzo said.   

-end-

More information about lead and lead in paint:

An environmental poison: The hazards of lead paint have been well-documented and regulated in developed nations for more than 40 years. But lead paint remains a major environmental health issue in developing countries—including the Philippines. Studies conducted in the early 2000s revealed startlingly high levels of lead in decorative paint in more than 30 developing countries—showing lead levels routinely above 600 parts per million (ppm), and often higher than 10,000 ppm. The US allows lead levels of no more than 90 ppm.

Traditionally, lead is added to paint to give it color, help it dry faster, make it more opaque, and protect it from corrosion. High quality, cost-effective alternatives to lead ingredients exist and are used in developed countries. Unlike many environmental health issues, the science on lead poisoning is indisputable. Studies have shown that the presence of lead paint on home interiors and exteriors is strongly linked to lead levels in children’s blood. Over time, paint on surfaces will chip and deteriorate, which releases lead into the dust and soil around homes, schools, and other locations. Children playing in these environments get the soil or dust on their hands and ingest it through normal hand-to-mouth contact.

Lead is a potent neurotoxin; even low levels of lead exposure can impair children’s cognitive function. Childhood lead poisoning can have lifelong health impacts, including learning disabilities, reduced IQ, anemia, and disorders in physical, visual, spatial, and language skills.

23 April 2018

Goldman Environmental Prize Winner Manny Calonzo: Painting a Brighter Future for Our Children with Lead Safe Paint

(Stockholm, Sweden): The 2018 Goldman Environmental Prize award to Manny Calonzo for his coalition efforts to eliminate lead paint in the Philippines brings attention to the ongoing threat of lead paint exposure to children in most of the developing world. Lead paint, the greatest single cause of childhood lead exposure globally, can cause irreversible neurological damage.  Mr. Calonzo’s work to forge partnerships with the public, NGOs, health ministers and paint manufacturers was a winning model in the Philippines and is inspiring similar campaigns to eliminate lead paint throughout the world.

“Together with allies from the public, industry and government, we proved we can rid ourselves of a damaging source of toxic pollution for the good of children in the Philippines. I hope this prize will help reduce lead exposure to children across the planet and paint a healthier future,” said Mr. Calonzo.

A long time campaigner for environmental health, Mr. Calonzo, former president and advisor of the EcoWaste Coalition [1] in the Philippines and leader in IPEN [2]’s global Lead Paint Elimination Campaign, was instrumental in securing the adoption of the first national law banning lead paint production, use and sale in the Philippines. This new law, one of the world’s most protective, safeguards nearly 12 million young children from exposure to lead. Lead exposure, even at the smallest amount, can cause lifelong, untreatable harm [3], including brain damage, harming a child’s ability to learn, read, write, and focus in class and participate in society.

“Manny’s well-deserved Goldman Prize is a cause for celebration for all those who care about children’s health,” said Sara Brosché, PhD., IPEN’s Lead Paint Elimination Campaign Manager. “The prize will bring international attention to lead paint’s profound threat to the children of the world and shines a light on Manny’s successful coalition-building campaign model. This strategy was key to the ban in the Philippines and is being used today by NGOs in more than 40 countries, contributing to legally binding laws and mandatory paint standards in 17 countries.”

“It is clear that paint companies won’t become lead-free by themselves and governments will not take action without coordinated political and market pressure,” said Gilbert Kuepouo, PhD., Coordinator of Centre de Recherche et d’Education pour le Développement (CREPD), who was instrumental in achieving a new lead paint law in Cameroon in 2017. “As an advisor to IPEN’s global campaign, Manny travels to other regions, and works with and inspires other public interest organizations and the private sector to help build coalitions to end lead paint production, sales and use.”

“Manny Calonzo’s campaign to ban lead paint in the Philippines and his development of a third-party certification system for lead-free paint serve as powerful models for how to engage diverse stakeholders to effect meaningful policy change,” said Michael Sutton, Executive Director of the Goldman Environmental Foundation, referring to the world’s first paint certification program, Lead Safe Paint [4]®, launched by IPEN in 2015 and harnessed by Calonzo to certify 85% of the paint market in the Philippines. “Manny’s work also serves as a great example for activists in other developing countries who are struggling to address the problem of lead contamination. Thanks to Manny’s work, in partnership with a broad coalition across industries, millions of Filipino children will be spared the profound dangers of lead exposure.”

The Global Campaign to Eliminate Lead Paint “Lead contamination is a preventable scourge on children’s health, their brain development and their future,” said Dr. Leonardo Trasande [5], an internationally renowned expert on children’s health who estimates the total cumulative cost burden of childhood lead exposure in low- and middle-income countries to be $977 billion international
dollars per year [6].

IPEN’s global campaign to eliminate lead paint began in 2008 after Toxics Link [7], an environmental health NGO in India, found that lead paint was widely sold to the public in India. Thereafter, the IPEN global network arranged paint studies in several countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. Shockingly, in every country sampled, most of the solvent-based, decorative enamel paints tested had hazardously high lead content.

Ravi Agarwal, founder of Toxics Link and a founding member of IPEN, states, “This prestigious award to Manny represents a growing awareness of the need for action to protect the children of the world today for our future tomorrow from lead and other toxic chemical threats.”

Lead-based paint contaminating household dust in older buildings is the leading cause of lead contamination in the US and throughout the world.  Recent research in The Lancet [8]concluded that 412,000 cardiovascular deaths a year in the US are attributable to lead contamination in adults, ten times higher than previous estimates. Experts anticipate higher impacts in the developing world, where protections are lacking and tropical environs cause paint to erode more quickly.

IPEN’s most recent global lead paint report [9], the largest such report to date, revealed that, of 54 countries, 50 have house paints on the market that contain lead. Forty percent had extremely high levels in more than a quarter of paints analyzed. (An interactive [10] map illustrating lead in paint on the market in 45 countries can be viewed here [10].)

In the past ten years local health and environment NGOs have successfully led campaigns and achieved effective, legally-binding laws and mandatory paint standards in 17 countries.

###

Goldman Environmental Prize Honors Seven Environmental Heroes Award recognizes activists from Colombia, France, Vietnam, the Philippines, South Africa, and the United States


SAN FRANCISCO, April 23, 2018 — The Goldman Environmental Foundation today announced seven recipients of the 2018 Goldman Environmental Prize, the world’s largest award for grassroots environmental activists.

Awarded annually to environmental heroes from each of the world’s six inhabited continental regions, the Goldman Environmental Prize recognizes grassroots activists for significant achievements to protect the environment.

The winners will be awarded the Prize at an invitation-only ceremony today at 5:30 pm PDT at the San Francisco Opera House (this event will be live streamed online at www.goldmanprize.org/ceremony). A ceremony at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C., will follow on Wednesday, April 25, at 7:30 pm EDT.

This year’s winners are:

FRANCIA MÁRQUEZ, Colombia

A formidable leader of the Afro-Colombian community, Francia Márquez pressured the Colombian government and organized the women of La Toma, in the Cauca region, to stop illegal gold mining on their ancestral land.

CLAIRE NOUVIAN, France

A tireless defender of the oceans and marine life, Claire Nouvian led a focused, data-driven advocacy campaign against the destructive fishing practice of deep-sea bottom trawling. Her work yielded French support for a ban on the practice, securing an EU-wide ban.

MAKOMA LEKALAKALA & LIZ MCDAID, South Africa

As grassroots activists, Makoma Lekalakala and Liz McDaid built a broad coalition to stop South Africa’s massive nuclear deal with Russia. Their work resulted in a landmark legal victory against the secret $76 billion deal, protecting South Africa from lifetimes of nuclear waste.

MANNY CALONZO, the Philippines

Manny Calonzo spearheaded an advocacy campaign that persuaded the Philippine government to enact a national ban on the production, use, and sale of lead paint. His efforts have protected millions of Filipino kids from lead poisoning.

LEEANNE WALTERS, United States

LeeAnne Walters led a citizens’ movement that tested the tap water in Flint, Michigan, and exposed the Flint water crisis, compelling the local, state, and federal governments to take action to ensure access to clean drinking water.

KHANH NGUY THI, Vietnam

Khanh Nguy Thi used scientific research and engaged Vietnamese state agencies to advocate for sustainable long-term energy projections and reduction in coal power dependency in Vietnam. Her efforts helped eliminate 115 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions from Vietnam annually.

###

About the Goldman Environmental Prize

The Goldman Environmental Prize was established in 1989 by late San Francisco civic leaders and philanthropists Richard and Rhoda Goldman. Prize winners are selected by an international jury from confidential nominations submitted by a worldwide network of environmental organizations and individuals.

Groups Nudge Senate to Prioritize Passage of Safe and Non-Hazardous Children’s Products Act

Laban Konsyumer, Inc., a consumer protection group, and the EcoWaste Coalition, an environmental health group, have jointly asked the Senate to expedite the approval of a crucial bill that will protect children from being harmed by toxic substances in products produced and marketed for their use.

Through a letter sent last week to Senate President Koko Pimentel and Senator JV Ejercito, the two groups prodded the lawmakers to fast track the approval of Senate Bill 1084, or the proposed Safe and Non-Toxic Children’s Products Act, for the sake of children’s health and safety.

“While its counterpart bill at the House of Representatives was unanimously approved in December 2017, Senate Bill 1084, as per Senate records, has not progressed at all.  We request the Senate leadership to get the legislative process moving with the aim of getting this important bill enacted this year,” said Atty. Vic Dimagiba, President, Laban Konsyumer, Inc.  

Senate Bill  1084 seeks to regulate the manufacture, importation, distribution and sale of children’s toys, school supplies, childcare articles and other related products containing toxic chemicals beyond the permissible limits. 

It was introduced by Ejercito on August 25, 2016, read on First Reading on August 30 2016 and subsequently referred to the Committee on Health and Demography (the primary committee) chaired by Ejercito himself.

Among the chemicals of concern initially targeted under the said bill are heavy metals such as antimony, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead and mercury, phthalates and Bisphenol A.

On the other hand, the House of Representatives approved last December 17 House Bill 6702, or the proposed Safe and Non-Hazardous Children’s Products Act,  which was co-introduced by 35 legislators from different political parties and party list groups.

“As Senate Bill 1084 seeks to uphold the health of all children who are most susceptible to the detrimental effects of chemical exposures, we believe our good senators should put the passage of this bill on top of their priority list,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.  

"The approval of the bill, we hope, will pave the way for stringent controls that will ensure children's products sold in the country do not pose health risks to their users and to the environment, too," he added.     
According to Laban Konsyumer, Inc. and the EcoWaste Coalition, the enactment of the consolidated Senate and House Bills and its approval by President Rodrigo Duterte may serve as the most enduring legacy of the 17th Congress in terms of protecting kids from hazardous substances hiding in everyday children’s products.

-end-

Reference:

Link to H.B. No. 6702:
http://congress.gov.ph/ legisdocs/first_17/CR00487.pdf

Link to S.B. No. 1084:
http://senate.gov.ph/lis/bill_ res.aspx?congress=17&q=SBN- 1084

21 April 2018

EcoWaste Coalition, Samahang Sining at Kultura ng Pilipinas, Advocates for Environmental and Social Justice


Free the Earth of plastic pollution! – green groups

A day before the world celebrate this year’s Earth Day, themed “End Plastic Pollution”, Samahang Sining at Kultura ng Pilipinas (SSKPil),  Advocates for Environmental and Social Justice (AESJ) and zero waste advocacy network EcoWaste Coalition joined the rest of the world in calling for an end to plastic pollution.

“It is high time that we free the earth of plastic pollution!” cried the groups during a local two-day Earth Day celebration in Pandacan, Manila, dubbed the Good Earth Day Festival, which was organized by SSKPil in partnership with AESJ and EcoWaste Coalition.

“We are one with nature! What we do to it, we do to ourselves! We pollute it; we pollute ourselves,” lamented Annabelle J. R. Lopez, President of SSKPil, highlighting this year’s theme for the two-day Pandacan event that starts today, “Iisa ang Tao at ang Kalikasan” (Humans and Nature are One).

“Unless we seriously pursue plastic use avoidance and reduction, our children, the future generation will end up playing and walking on plastic wastes sooner or later!,” Lopez continued.

According to the groups, plastic pollution happens when plastic materials are not properly managed, such as by throwing them away or burning them, instead of ecologically managing the same as mandated by the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 or Republic Act 9003.

“Plastics can be found almost anywhere and have started to engulf even our waterways beaches and popular tourist spots, places which are supposedly protected from such unwarranted intrusions especially from pollutants,” noted Sixto Carlos, AESJ founder and Board member of SSKPil.

"In Pandacan where we are making efforts to revive Beata River, along the historic romantic river of Balagtas and Celia, one finds never ending piles of plastic items floating among other debris," continued Carlos.  

EcoWaste Coalition Zero Waste Program Officer, Daniel Alejandre, for his part, noted that data from a 2017 waste audit conducted by the international anti-plastic pollution movement Break Free From Plastic along the beaches of Freedom Island, Paranaque City, a protected area, showed that “almost 50% (49.33%) of wastes from collected samples comprise of plastics, 82% of which are disposables.”

The more than 16-year old RA 9003 provides that ‘solid waste avoidance and volume reduction through source reduction and waste minimization’ be among the major policies that should be instituted by local governments, which are the main actor in implementing the said law.

To deal with plastic pollution, the groups highlighted the necessary mainstreaming of zero waste programs and strict implementation of RA 9003 that should start at the barangay level.

The groups continued that Industries can do a lot and should do its part in stopping plastic pollution at the point of manufacturing.

“Industries should green and clean their production processes so that products that they make are safe, non-toxic, and environmentally acceptable,” the green groups voiced out.

All the while, RA 9003 provides for the prohibition on the use of non-environmentally acceptable products, which, according to the law, are those that do not possess the quality of being re-usable, biodegradable, recyclable, and non-toxic to the environment.

“Industries should also institute extended producer responsibility to ensure that each product, at the end of its useful life, return to its manufacturer for appropriate management,” concluded the groups.

-end-

References:

Break Free From Plastic, Waste and Brand Audit in Freedom Island, Powerpoint Presentation, 2017
Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000
https://www.facebook.com/event s/131913394188262 

Singapore bans mercury-laced beauty Cream that is also banned but still sold in PH


A toxics watch group has again reminded consumers to shun an imported skin whitening cosmetic that is sold locally after the Singaporean government alerted the public not to buy or use it due to its mercury content.

On April 20, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) of Singapore alerted consumers not to purchase or use 18 cosmetic products after testing positive for potent undeclared ingredients such as mercury, hydroquinone and tretinoin.

Among these proscribed products was Goree Beauty Cream with Lycopene with SPF 30 Avocado & Aloe Vera that the Food and Drug Administration of the Philippines and the Ministry of Health of Brunei had banned in October 2017 and March 2018, respectively, for containing mercury above the 1 part per million (ppm) limit set under the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive.

“Despite being banned in the Philippines, Brunei and Singapore, we still find mercury-laden Goree facial creams from Pakistan on sale in online shopping sites and in cosmetic retail stores in Baclaran, Divisoria, Quiapo and even in Davao,” lamented Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

"Consumers should come to their senses and heed the warnings from health authorities, and those behind the proliferation of these injurious  goods in the market should stop at once," he said. 

In tests conducted in February this year, the group detected 25,300 ppm of mercury in one Goree Beauty Cream with Lycopene with SPF 30 Avocado & Aloe Vera, and 21,800 ppm of mercury in another Goree Day & Night Whitening Cream.

Aside from these Goree products, the EcoWaste Coalition has tracked the unlawful sale of other mercury-tainted cosmetics from Pakistan in Pasay City, including Aneeza Gold Beauty Cream, Aneeza Saffron Whitening Cream, Face Lift Whitening Beauty Cream, Golden Pearl Beauty Cream, Parley Beauty Cream, and Parley Whitening Cream.  

“It’s important for the customs, health and police authorities to take combined law enforcement actions now against the unscrupulous importers, distributors and sellers of these dangerous cosmetics to protect the public health and the environment,” Dizon said.

According to HSA’s health alert, “mercury is a toxic heavy metal and is prohibited for use as an ingredient in cosmetic products.” 

“Regular application of creams containing mercury could lead to rash, skin discoloration and blotching while long-term exposure to high levels of mercury in cosmetic products can cause serious health consequences, including damage to the kidneys, digestive and nervous systems,” the agency warned.


HSA advised consumers to stop using Goree and the other 17 cosmetic products immediately and discard them as they contain high levels of mercury or other undeclared potent ingredients that can lead to serious adverse reactions.

The agency also warned that suppliers of illegal health products are liable to prosecution and if convicted, may be imprisoned for up to 3 years and/or fined up to Singaporean $100,000.

-end-


Reference:

https://ww2.fda.gov.ph/index.p hp/advisories-2/cosmetic-2/472 052-fda-advisory-no-2017-289

http://www.hsa.gov.sg/content/ dam/HSA/News_and_Events/Press_ Releases/2018/PR%2018%20cosmet ic%20pdts%20PQS%20final.pdf

http://www.hsa.gov.sg/content/ hsa/en/News_Events/Press_Relea ses/2018/18cosmeticproducts.ht ml

https://www.brudirect.com/news .php?id=43756

18 April 2018

Green groups question Palawan, DOE “waste-to-energy” deal; Warn LGUs on possible “waste-to-energy” scams

NGO coalition No Burn Pilipinas today questioned the legality of the newly signed “waste-to-energy” (WTE) facility deal in Palawan, as they warned cities and municipalities not to be lured by possible WTE scams. The group, which finds the 2.1 billion peso WTE deal in Puerto Princesa dubious, called on the Department of Energy (DOE) and Puerto Princesa City to immediately cancel the contract.

The groups were reacting to the recent report on the contract signing between the DOE, Puerto Princesa City and Austworks Corp., the facility provider for the construction of a so-called “waste-to-energy” plant. Under the deal, Austworks will build a purported “thermal gasification” WTE incinerator in the city’s Sta. Lourdes Sanitary Landfill, as well as well as provide garbage collection services. The WTE plant will supposedly generate 5.5 megawatts of electricity from the city’s 110 metric tons per day of waste.

The coalition No Burn Pilipinas contends that 1) the deal is illegal since waste incineration is banned under Philippine law; 2) the energy—if any—produced by the facility will be miniscule, and claims that the facility will pay for itself from the energy generated is false; and 3) there are no commercially operating thermal gasification WTE incinerators anywhere in the world. Moreover, for a major infrastructure project, no information is available on Austworks’ record or experience in building similar facilities.

“The planned ‘waste-to-energy’ incinerator in Puerto Princesa is patently illegal under Philippine law,” said Ruel Cabile, WTE campaigner of EcoWaste Coalition. “It is a clear violation of the ban on incineration enshrined in the Clean Air Act. It also contravenes the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, which the government should be strengthening. Pursuing “waste-to-energy” incineration undermines segregation, recycling and reduction efforts--the very approaches which the government should be supporting.”

For its part, the Palawan chapter of the Environmental Legal Assitance Center (ELAC), noted that Puerto Princesa’s current sanitary landfill was intended to evolve into a Zero Waste management program, as provided in the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) issued to the Puerto Princesa City government. “The pursuit of WTE would result to a violation of the ECC,” said ELAC Palawan representative Kat Leuch. “We hope that the Puerto Princesa City government can still reconsider its planned incineration project and prioritize Zero Waste management in its development masterplan. Being a hall of fame awardee in the ‘Clean and Green Program’ of the Philippine government, we expect the city government to sustain its environmental protection efforts,” she added.

No Burn Pilipinas partners are further questioning the DOE’s promotion of WTE incineration. “Waste incineration is the most expensive and inefficient way to produce electricity, with construction costing twice that of coal-fired power plants and 60% more than nuclear plants, and operations costing ten times more than coal, and four times more than nuclear,” Glenn Ymata of Philippine Movement for Climate Justice. “WTE incineration is bad for the climate and is not renewable energy; it takes investments away from real energy solutions such as wind and solar.”

Aside from the deal’s illegality, No Burn Pilipinas is doubtful that the facility will actually operate successfully—even if it is constructed. “Gasification plants are among the most complicated and expensive incinerators, and are not recommended as suitable waste treatment facilities in developing countries,” said Lea Guerrero, clean energy campaigner of Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives. “In fact, no commercial-scale gasification plant meant for the treatment of municipal solid waste exists anywhere in the world. Aside from bad economics, gasification’s history of technical challenges and failures has led to shut downs in operation which have left some cities and taxpayers in debt, paying for prohibitively expensive facilities that never worked.”

Environmental groups say that cities and municipalities should be extremely wary of incinerator companies selling billion peso “quick fix” incinerators. The case of Palawan is not the first WTE deal that seems too good to be true. In 2011, Angeles City was lured into investing in a USD 63 million WTE facility that never materialized. In 2006, the City of San Fernando in Pampanga entered into a contract for a gasification facility that was started but never completed. However, shortly after the failure of the gasification plant, the City of San Fernando chose instead to pursue Zero Waste—and the results were successful. In partnership with Mother Earth Foundation, the city was able to drastically reduce the volume of municipal waste in just six months. In the past, the city brought almost 90% of its waste to landfills. But in the last four years with a Zero Waste program, which includes segregation at source and composting of organics, this figure was reduced to 30%, resulting in huge savings for the city. 

“Zero Waste is still the best approach for the sustainable management of discards,” said Sonia Mendoza of Mother Earth Foundation. “Waste is a complex problem that can’t be solved by a machine that burns trash and merely converts solid waste to toxic air pollution. The government should support Zero Waste approaches instead of partnering with incinerator companies that sell false solutions to cities and municipalities.”

-end-

17 April 2018

EcoWaste Coalition Reminds Parents to Choose Safe Swimming Toys for Kids


The EcoWaste Coalition reminded parents to go for kid-safe swimming toys as many families head to beaches and pools to seek a breather from the scorching summer heat.

The anti-toxics watch group revealed that some beach and pool balls, floats and rings being sold in the market may contain undisclosed chemicals of concern such as phthalates that are not permitted in children’s toys.

“We advise parents to only buy safe swimming toys that will not pose chemical risk or cause accidental drowning or injuries to young children,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Get your children out of harm’s way, please make them play with phthalate-free swimming toys that are compliant with the government’s regulation,” he said.

Dizon explained that inflatable aquatic toys made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic may contain phthalate additives that are known to interfere with hormonal functions and causing  developmental, reproductive and other health problems, especially among children. 

“As a precaution, the Department of Health (DOH) in 2011 banned certain phthalates in children’s toys.  As early as 1999, the Bureau of Food and Drugs  (now known as the Food and Drug Administration or FDA) warned ‘phthalates in children’s toys particularly those made of soft plastic materials or PVC have been found to leach out from the toys when they are sucked or chewed as commonly practiced by children… (and) may cause adverse health effects such as liver and kidney wounds, reproductive abnormalities and immune system defects’,” he pointed out.

As per DOH Administrative Order 2009-0005-A as amended in December 2011, the manufacture, importation, distribution and sale of children’s toys containing more than 0.1 percent of di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP) or benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP) is prohibited.

This A.O. further bans diisononyl phthalate (DINP), diisodecyl phthalate (DIDP), or di-n-octyl phthalate (DnOP) in children’s toys that can be placed in a child’s mouth in concentrations above 0.1 percent by weight.

Dizon recalled that in 2015, three of the four swimming toys sent by the EcoWaste Coalition to a private laboratory for phthalate analysis were found to contain high concentrations of DEHP up to 19.6 percnet and DINP up to 1.29 percent in blatant breach of the government’s regulation.

The fourth sample marked “phthalate-free” on the label passed the test – a good indicator that swimming toys can be manufactured without phthalate additives.


For children’s safety, the EcoWaste Coalition further enjoined the public to heed the pointers from FDA on the proper selection of aquatic toys, including checking the label for the age suitability,  item/model/stock keeping unit (SKU) number, warning statements, name and address of manufacturer and license to operate number (LTO No.) of the local company responsible for placing the product in the market.


-end- 

Reference:

15 April 2018

Aspiring Barangay, SK Leaders Urged to Stand Up for the Environment




As thousands line up to file their Certificates of Candidacy, a waste and pollution watch group urged women and men aiming to become Barangay ang Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) leaders to take up the cudgels on behalf of Mother Earth.

“We need grassroots leaders who will inspire and guide our communities to the cause of environmental conservation and protection and make sure that our ‘common home’ is cared for,” said Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“As front liners of public service, Barangay and SK leaders have a huge responsibility in making our neighborhoods clean, healthy and safe for everyone, especially for children who are most vulnerable to harm and illness,” he pointed out.

“We need public servants who will help in local government unit (LGU) enforcement of environmental laws and regulations that seek to protect our air, water, soil and our people against damaging and polluting activities,” he said.

One of these laws is Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, which emphasizes waste prevention, volume reduction, segregation at source, recycling and composting through the adoption of “best environmental practices in ecological solid waste management excluding incineration.”

As stated in the Philippine Development Plan (PDP for 2017-2022), “LGU compliance with the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act has been low and majority of local areas are still unserved by solid waste management (SWM)facilities or materials recovery facilities (MRFs).”   According to the PDP, only 31.28 percent of barangays are covered by SWM facilities and 30.92 percent by MRFs below the 2016 targets of 67.39 percent and 77.10 percent, respectively.”
 
R.A. 9003 requires the establishment of MRFs or ecology centers in every barangay or cluster of barangays “to receive, sort, process and store compostable and recyclable materials efficiently and in an environmentally sound manner.”

“These MRFs have the potential to boost community-driven ecological waste management that will reduce hauling costs, conserve resources, prevent spillage of plastics to water bodies, and foster environmental values among the people,” Alejandre said.

“We hope that those running for the May 14 Barangay and SK polls do recognize the importance of enforcing R.A. 9003 in their localities and their role to get the law implemented,” he added.

The EcoWaste Coalition expressed its hope that contenders will address garbage and other pressing environmental concerns in their electoral platforms, and that voters will support pro-Mother Earth candidates at the ballot box come polling day.

Last Friday, the EcoWaste Coalition launched its campaign for waste-free Barangay and SK elections outside the headquarters of the Commission on Elections and in the presence of Commissioner Luie Tito Guia.

“As actions speak louder than words, we urge candidates to campaign in a manner that will not misuse resources, dirty the surroundings and cause damage to community health and environment,” the group said.

-end-



13 April 2018

EcoWaste Coalition Urges Barangay and SK Election Candidates to “Think Environment” (Group Campaigns for Waste-Free Barangay and SK Elections)


Environmental activists today dared political wannabes aspiring for Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan posts to run with the good of the environment in mind.

At the launch of its drive for waste-free elections outside the headquarters of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) in Manila, the EcoWaste Coalition pointed to the need for candidates to demonstrate their commitment to the environment not only in words but in deeds.

The EcoWaste Coalition made a strong pitch for environmental protection in the upcoming elections on May 14 as the filing of the Certificates of Candidacy begins tomorrow April 14 until April 20 as per COMELEC Resolution No. 10246.

COMELEC Commissioner Luie Tito F. Guia echoed the group’s plea affirming “the COMELEC is one with the EcoWaste Coalition in appealing to all candidates to be environmentally conscious and responsible in their campaigning activities.”  He added:  “Please be respectful of our environment as you woo voters to back your political aspirations.  Please prevent and reduce your campaign trash to the minimum.”

For his part, Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner  of the EcoWaste Coalition, stated  “the May 14 polls offer a unique opportunity for would-be barangay and youth leaders to articulate and show their commitment to the preservation and protection of the environment.” 

“Well-meaning candidates, we hope, will use the campaign period to rally their constituents into supporting pro-environment policies and programs such as the active enforcement of Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, at the household and community level,” he said.

“As actions speak louder than words, we urge candidates to campaign in a manner that will not misuse resources, dirty the surroundings and cause damage to community health and environment,” he emphasized.

The EcoWaste Coalition specifically requested candidates to use recyclable and environment-friendly campaign materials and to avoid those materials that contain hazardous additives.

To get their message across, a member of the EcoWaste Coalition wore a mock ballot box with a message that says: “Wanted: Mga Kandidatong may Pagkalinga sa Kalikasan” (Wanted: Candidates Who Care for the Environment), while others hold ballot box replicas with the words “Isipin ang Kalikasan” (Think Environment).  

The group identified the following campaign practices that should be avoided to reduce the generation of trash and prevent damage to the ecosystems:

1.  Producing excessive campaign materials beyond what is allowed and needed;
2.  Leaving, dumping and burning trash in campaign sorties; 
3.  Throwing confetti, exploding firecrackers or releasing balloons in campaign events;
4.  Using smoke-belching vehicles in campaign motorcades;
5.  Nailing, hanging and pasting of campaign materials on trees and other places prohibited places, and
6.  Failing to remove campaign materials and clean up immediately after the polls.

On the other hand, the group urged the candidates to observe the following suggestions for an eco-friendly campaigning: 

1.  Use recyclable and non-toxic campaign materials;
2.  Refrain from using Styrofoam, plastic bags and other single-use containers for volunteers’ meals and drinks;
3.  Practice ecological solid waste management in campaign meetings and assemblies;
4.  Zero tolerance on littering and the open dumping and open burning of campaign waste materials; and 
5.  Repurpose, reuse or recycle campaign materials.

-end-

12 April 2018

Toxics Watch Group Pushes for Safe Disposal of Busted Mercury-Containing Lamps (EcoWaste Coalition Releases Report "The Toxic Silence of the Lamps")



Don’t Trash Fluorescent Lamps: The EcoWaste Coalition cautions the public against the improper handling, storage and disposal of busted fluorescent lamps that can result to breakage and the eventual escape of mercury vapor, which is harmful to human health, especially to babies, children, pregnant women and workers.  

The toxics watch group EcoWaste Coalition today aired the urgency to address the improper disposal of burned-out mercury-containing fluorescent lamps to curb mercury emissions that can contaminate the environment and harm human health.

At a press briefing held today in Quezon City, the group released its new report entitled “The Toxic Silence of the Lamps,” which contains over 150 photos taken from February 1 to March 8, 2018 showing inadequate and unsafe practices in the handling, storage and disposal of busted mercury lamps in 21 local government units in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

“We conducted this photo investigation to call attention to prevailing lamp waste management practices that are putting the health of the public, particularly the waste workers, at risk from cuts with glass shards and from mercury exposure,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

The mercury vapor in the glass tube of fluorescent light bulbs can escape if the lamp is broken, dumped, burned or recycled in uncontrolled conditions, the group warned.  

At present, burned-out lamps are carelessly disposed of alongside household trash as well as construction and demolition debris, thrown on the streets, dumps, vacant lots and creeks, abandoned on corners and sidewalks with the ubiquitous “bawal magtapon ng basura dito”(do not throw garbage here) signage, and hauled to landfills.

“The threat to waste workers’ health is real and serious as they are not informed and protected against toxic substances lurking in the waste stream, including mercury from fluorescent lamps and other electronic wastes, thermometers, skin lightening products, and dental fillings,” Dizon said.    

According to the report, “waste workers who handle, collect, store and dispose of lamp wastes are particularly prone to chronic exposure to mercury from the moment such wastes are tossed to the garbage trucks and transported to dumpsites and landfills.”

Speaking at the press briefing, medical doctor and toxicologist Dr. Bessie Antonio said that “breathing mercury vapors is the most typical way to be exposed to this chemical poison, which can harm the nervous, digestive, renal, respiratory and immune systems.  Short-term or long-term exposure to mercury vapors will yield a variety of health problems.  Infants, young children, pregnant women and workers are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of mercury exposure.”

According to studies, the country generates approximately 50 million pieces of lamp wastes per year of which only 0.5 million pieces (1%) are treated off-site, 4 million pieces (8%) are stored, 3.5 million pieces (7%) are sold to junk shops, and 42 million pieces (84%) are disposed of as garbage.

There is no system yet for a free take-back of busted lamps in the country despite a joint administrative order issued in 2013 by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) directing the lighting industry to set up a systematic collection, transportation and disposal of lamp wastes, the report noted.

As per inventory assessment by the Environmental Management Bureau, 378.89 tons of mercury and mercury-containing wastes are emitted or released yearly into the environment, which include 23.5 and 2.20 tons from double-end fluorescent tubes and compact fluorescent lamps, respectively.

To promote the environmentally sound management of busted lamps and minimize mercury pollution, the EcoWaste Coalition has recommended the following action points:

a.  For the DOE to get the dormant US$1.37 million Lamp Waste Management Facility with mercury recovery up and running in 2018.

b.  For the DOE and the DENR to review the implementation of extended producer responsibility for lamp waste management.

c.  For the Government of the Philippines to proceed with the ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury in 2018 and the required concurrence by the Senate.

d. For the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC), in collaboration with environmental health groups, to conduct public information and education on mercury lamp waste management.

e.  For municipal and city authorities to craft ordinance to ensure the inclusion and implementation of environmentally sound management of special wastes, including lamp wastes and other household hazardous wastes.

f. For the lighting industry to designate convenient collection programs and/or drop-off points for lamp waste, especially for household and small-sized lamp waste generators, with appropriate receptacles that will prevent breakage.

g.  For manufacturers to specify the mercury content on the lamp and its packaging and to indicate the following warning label as required by the Philippine National Standards: “WARNING: Contains Mercury, Handle with Care and Dispose of Properly.”

The EcoWaste Coalition will provide copies of “The Toxic Silence of the Lamps” to the DOE, DENR, NSWMC, the Philippine Lighting Industry Association and other concerned entities to generate concerted action to halt the unsafe disposal of mercury-containing lamp waste that can contaminate the surroundings and endanger the people and wildlife.  

-end-

Link to The Toxic Silence of the Lamps Study 2018 Edition:
http://www.ecowastecoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/The_Toxic_-Silence_of_the_Lamps_2018_EcoWasteCoalition.pdf

10 April 2018

“Cavite Zero Waste Project” in General Mariano Alvarez Launched, Lauded


Mayor Walter D. Echevarria, Jr. (third from left) led the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement for the “Cavite Zero Waste Project” in the Municipality of General Mariano Alvarez involving the local government and the EcoWaste Coalition represented by the group’s president Eileen Sison (fourth from left).  The project seeks to strengthen the implementation of Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, in the thriving municipality.  The event was also graced by (from left to right) Miko Aliño of the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Ochie Tolentino of the Cavite Green Coalition and Aileen Lucero of the EcoWaste Coalition.

A timely project that is expected to help in improving the management of solid waste in the thriving town of General Mariano Alvarez (GMA) was formally launched today.

GMA Mayor Walter D. Echevarria, Jr. led the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement for the “Cavite Zero Waste Project” involving the municipal government, the Department of Interior and Local Government, and the non-government organization EcoWaste Coalition.  The signing ceremony took place at the Materials Recovery Facility in Poblacion 1, GMA.

The project aims to strengthen the overall implementation of Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, in the said municipality via direct capacity building activities in seven focal barangays and outreach interventions for the 20 other barangays.

“We undertake this environmental initiative in collaboration with the EcoWaste Coalition and the DILG as this will complement and reinforce our earnest efforts to clean up our barangays, reduce garbage generation, and heighten municipal compliance to R.A. 9003,” stated Mayor Echevarria, Jr.

The municipal government, among other things, is implementing the safe closure and rehabilitation of its controlled waste disposal site.  

Through the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office led by Michael Templonuevo , GMA operates a biogas digester at Nicolasa Virata Public Market that is capable of treating 50 kilos of biodegradable market waste, as well as wastewater, per day.  It also runs a portable biogas digester for household and community use that is able to treat three kilos of domestic waste per day.

“The EcoWaste Coalition is excited to forge this environmental partnership with the government and people of GMA, which we hope will translate to greater citizens’ awareness and involvement on ecological solid waste management (ESWM) at the barangay level.  We laud the local authorities for embracing this well-timed initiative,” said Eileen B. Sison, President, EcoWaste Coalition.  

As NGO partner of the municipal government and the DILG, the EcoWaste Coalition will conduct a study on household ESWM practice, implement a capacity building program for the seven focal barangays, and provide technical assistance to these barangays to enhance existing SWM ordinances.

The group, a strong advocate for zero waste resource management, will likewise conduct awareness and outreach activities to the other 20 barangays and the association of junk shop operators and waste pickers in the municipality.

-end-