Children’s health and environmental protection organizations lauded the Quezon City Council for adopting an ordinance that will protect kids, women, and workers from being exposed to lead, a highly hazardous chemical.
In a joint statement, Arugaan (a support group for women with young infants and children) and the EcoWaste Coalition (a waste and pollution watch group) commended the 20th City Council for approving on third and final reading yesterday, June 13, an ordinance “requiring the use of lead safe paint in construction, maintenance and renovation projects and activities” of Quezon Cty.
Sponsored by District I Councilor Elizabeth Delarmente, the ordinance seeks to foster the city’s policy “to promote the public’s health, safety and welfare, as well as promote a toxic-free environment, by ensuring the mandatory procurement and use of duly certified lead safe paints.”
As defined in the ordinance, “lead safe paint is a paint that does not contain added lead as verified and confirmed through a third party certification.” On the other hand, “lead paint is a paint or other similar surface coating materials containing lead above the regulatory total maximum lead limit of 90 parts per million (ppm).
“Kudos to Councilor Delarmente and the City Council for enacting an ordinance that will ensure only independently verified lead safe paints are procured and used for painting projects and activities funded by taxpayers’ money. This is a very good news for children’s, women’s and workers’ health,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
“This ordinance will protect babies in the womb and young children from being poisoned by lead through the ingestion and inhalation of lead-laden paint chip and dust, which can irreparably damage the brain and the central nervous system and cause reduced intelligence and behavioral problems,” said Ines Fernandez, Chairperson, Arugaan.
Quezon City is the second local government unit (LGU) after Davao City, that has adopted a lead safe paint ordinance in line with DILG Memorandum Circular 2018-26 enjoining LGUs to“support the phase-out of lead-containing paints and eventually reduce the hazards and risks posed by such paints to human health," according to the EcoWaste Coalition.
The ordinance prohibits the following acts to ensure that leaded paints are not bought and used for the city’s projects and activities:
--- procuring paints containing lead above 90 ppm;
--- purchasing paints that lack independent proof of compliance with the regulatory standard;
--- receiving and applying donated paints that are not compliant with the lead paint regulation; and
--- using lead-containing paints above 90 ppm in decorating public facilities and amenities, including, but not limited to, schools, day care centers, children’s parks and playgrounds, health centers, sports complexes and covered multi-purpose courts.
The ordinance also requires employees, contractors, and service providers to ”take protective measures when surfaces previously coated with lead paint are disturbed during repair, remodeling or repainting activities in order to prevent and control the formation and dispersion of lead-containing paint chips and dust and reduce the risk of exposure to lead.”
Violators will be fined P2,000 for the first offense and P3,000 for the second offense. For the third offense, violators will be meted with a fine of P5,000, imprisonment of 30 days or cancellation of business license, or both at the discretion of the court.
In addition, all those convicted by the court will be required to render 30 days of community service to be determined by concerned local government authorities.
The Quezon City Engineering Department has been assigned to take the lead in the strict implementation of the ordinance in coordination with the Parks Development and Administration Department, Environmental Protection and Waste Management Department, Health Department, Division of City Schools, and relevant national government agencies.