29 July 2018

Group Raises Red Flag Over Toxic Lipsticks Laden with Lead and Other Harmful Chemicals

Counterfeit MAC lipsticks laden with lead and other toxic metals.
Sampled lipsticks found to contain heavy metal impurities such as arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury.

As the “National Lipstick Day” is celebrated today, July 29, a non-profit group urged the public, especially women, to shun unsafe products containing heavy metal impurities that can damage human health.

The EcoWaste Coalition raised the red flag on “poison lipsticks” after finding cheap lip products, mostly imitation ones, contaminated with lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic way above the trace limits under the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive (ACD).   

Arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury belong to the list of “10 chemicals of major public health concern” as per the World Health Organization (WHO), and are among the “substances which must not form part of the composition of cosmetic products” as per the ACD.

“We urge lipstick users not to buy counterfeit lipsticks and those without proper market authorization as many of such products are laden with heavy metal contaminants that can seriously harm human health,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.   

“Our intent is not to throw cold water on this special day for lipstick lovers, but to remind consumers of the hazardous substances that may be lurking in fake articles and others that have not been assessed for their quality and safety,” he added.

“To safeguard consumer health, we request the authorities, particularly the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to cause the immediate seizure of the non-compliant lipsticks in cooperation with local government and police units,” he said. 

In test buys conducted on July 28 at Divisoria - Manila’s hub of cheap finds - the EcoWaste Coalition bought an assortment of lipstick products costing P15 to P70 per piece from retail stores located at 168 Shopping Mall, 999 Shopping Mall, Divisoria Mall and Dragon 8 Mall.

Out of 38 lipsticks bought and screened for heavy metals using an X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) device, 30 were found to contain at least one metal above the ACD’s allowable limit of 20 parts per million(ppm) for lead, 5 ppm for cadmium, 5 ppm for arsenic and 1 ppm for mercury.

Lead above 20 ppm was detected in 30 samples with 10 of these samples, which were mostly MAC imitation lipsticks, contaminated with lead in the range of 2,633 ppm to 39,500 ppm.    

A counterfeit MAC Mariah Carey #02 lipstick was found to contain 39,500 ppm of lead, 1,865 ppm of arsenic, 372 ppm of cadmium and 100 ppm of mercury, while a Qianxiu Lipstick #010 had 22,400 ppm of lead, 1,420 of arsenic and 128 ppm of mercury.

To avoid exposure to lead and other heavy metal impurities in lipsticks, the EcoWaste Coalition reiterated the following safety tips:

a. Check if the item has the required cosmetic product notification by accessing the FDA website.

b. Buy from a licensed retail outlet and ask for an official receipt.

c. If the price looks too good to be true, the product is most likely a counterfeit.

d. Use less, especially if the product is not guaranteed safe from lead and other contaminants.

e. Don’t let children play with lipstick.

According to the FDA, ”lead is a proven toxicant that accumulates in the body through constant exposure and absorption over a prolonged period. Health problems through chronic ingestion of high level of lead in lipsticks may manifest as neurologic, hematologic, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and renal problems.”

“Lead easily crosses the placenta, and pregnant women should pay particular attention to the different sources of lead exposure,” the FDA said.

Arsenic, cadmium and mercury, like lead, are also toxic to human health.



Information re National Lipstick Day:

Information on lead in lipstick:

Information on arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury:

26 July 2018

Group Renews Call to Ban Eyeliner Loaded with Toxic Lead, Cadmium and Arsenic

The EcoWaste Coalition, a toxics watch group, has alerted consumers against using a brand of eyeliner that contains dangerously high concentrations of lead, cadmium and arsenic, which are hazardous to health and forbidden in cosmetic formulations.  

The group’s latest toxic alert came on the heels of a public health warning issued this week by the government of New South Wales in Australia after three children fell ill due to lead poisoning from using Hashmi Kohl Aswad and Hashmi Surma Special eyeliners.

According to Mr. Matt Kean, the State Minister for Better Regulation, the children from the same family tested with elevated levels of lead in their blood. "An investigation indicated the health concerns were likely to have been caused by one of the Hashmi brand eyeliners," the minister said.

The Hashmi eyeliners from Pakistan are also sold in the Philippines as confirmed through test buys conducted by the EcoWaste Coalition prompting the group to renew its call for the government to ban the toxic eye cosmetic.

“These toxic eyeliners pose clear and present danger to consumers, especially to children and pregnant women, due to their heavy metals content and should be immediately withdrawn from the market and safely disposed of as hazardous waste.  We urge the government to ban these poison cosmetics at once,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

The group in 2014 notified the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about the illegal sale of Hashmi eyeliners after monitoring the import alert by US FDA against eye area cosmetics containing kohl, kajal or surma.
Yesterday, July 25, the group managed to buy Hashmi eyeliners for P180 each from retail outlets near the Golden Mosque in Quiapo, Manila.

Based on the chemicals screening performed by the group using an X-Ray Fluorescence device, both variants of Hashmi eyeliners had over 100,000 parts per million (ppm) of lead, way above the 20 ppm trace amount limit under the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive (ACD).

The group also detected 20,300 ppm of arsenic and 6,218 ppm of cadmium in Hashmi Kohl, and 21,200 ppm of arsenic and 6,915 ppm of cadmium in Hashmi Surma, exceeding the ACD's 5 ppm limit for arsenic and cadmium. 

Arsenic, cadmium and lead, which are prohibited as ingredients in cosmetics, are also listed among the 48 priority chemicals that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources "has determined to potentially pose unreasonable risk to public health, workplace and the environment."
As stated by the US FDA, “products containing kohl and similar ingredients have been linked to lead poisoning, especially among children.”

“The risks associated with exposure to lead are especially serious for children. Among the effects associated with high levels of lead exposure are anemia, kidney problems, and neurological damage that may include seizures, coma, and death,” it said.

“Even at relatively low levels, chronic exposure to lead may lead to learning and behavior problems,” it warned.

The EcoWaste Coalition echoed two important steps as advised by the US FDA that consumers should take against exposure to kohl and similar products:

1. "Stop using the product immediately and be especially careful to protect children from further exposure."

2. "Ask a healthcare provider to test children as well as pregnant or nursing women for lead poisoning if they have used the product."


25 July 2018

EcoWaste Coalition Urges DOH and DENR to Get to the Bottom of Hospital Waste Dumping in Tuba, Benguet

A waste and pollution watch group called upon Health Secretary Francisco Duque and Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu to leave no stone unturned to bring parties behind the deplorable hospital trash dumping in Tuba, Benguet to book.

Through a letter sent to the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and to their respective offices in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), the EcoWaste Coalition asked the government to get to the bottom of the dumping scandal that has grabbed the attention of local as well as the national media.

“We request your good offices to get to the bottom of this dumping incident in Tuba that reportedly includes dextrose bottles, sharps like needles and syringes, fluid packs, IV tubings, vials and body parts,” said Eileen Sison, President, EcoWaste Coalition.  

“A thorough investigation will show the nature and volume of hospital waste materials dumped and the extent of the pollution caused,” she said. 

The investigation sought will further show compliance or lack of compliance to the DOH's Health Care Waste Management Manual and the Joint DENR-DOH A.O. 2005-02, or the ‘Policies and Guidelines on Effective and Proper Handling, Collection, Transport, Treatment, Storage and Disposal of Health Care Wastes,’ the EcoWaste Coalition said.

Complaints from local groups such as the Social Action Center and the Holy Family Basic Ecclesial Community based out of Saint Paul’s Parish in Bawek, Taloy Sur, Tuba, Benguet have reached the EcoWaste Coalition prompting it to ask the DOH and the DENR to investigate.  

“We understand their concerns as mismanaged hospital waste can cause adverse effects on public health and the environment,” Sison said.

In their letter to Duque and Cimatu, the group requested their offices “to ensure that the concerns of the Tuba authorities and people are justly and swiftly tackled and that adequate remedies are promptly undertaken to address the health and environmental threats, particularly from the infectious and toxic fraction of the dumped hospital waste.”

The EcoWaste Coalition based in Quezon City is a non-profit environmental group promoting safe and sustainable management of municipal solid waste, healthcare waste, and hazardous and toxic waste.

Among other things, the group advocates for the strict implementation of key pollution prevention laws such as R.A. 9003 (Ecological Solid Waste Management Act), R.A. 9275 (Clean Water Act), R.A. 8749 (Clean Air Act) and R.A. 6969 (Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act) to protect public health and the environment.


21 July 2018

Group Holds E-Waste Collection at BSP (EcoWaste Coalition Bats for Environmentally-Sound Management of E-Waste)

In a bid to promote the safe management of waste electrical and electronic equipment, or what is popularly known as e-waste, a non-profit group conducted a collection program for such waste at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

As an exhibitor in a wellness fair held at the BSP Assembly Hall in Manila on July 19 and 20, the EcoWaste Coalition set up a booth, handed out e-waste information leaflets and received a variety of damaged and outmoded electronic stuff from BSP employees.

The collected e-wastes, including batteries, cell phones, laptops, printers, servers, modem routers, kitchen appliances and other electrical products that have reached the end of their useful lives, were immediately brought to a government-accredited facility in Laguna for proper recycling or disposal.  

“Our presence at the BSP event is part of our ongoing effort to draw public awareness about the threats posed by e-waste to human health and the environment and the need to ensure the safe management of this growing toxic waste stream,” said Primo Morillo, E-Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Promoting the environmentally-sound management of e-waste will protect workers and the rest of the society against adverse effects caused by improper handling, storage, transport, dismantling, recycling or disposal that can let loose the highly hazardous components of such waste or create even more toxic byproducts,” he added.

Among the very hazardous substances found in e-waste are heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury, persistent organic pollutants (POPs) like polychlorinated biphenyls(PCBs) and  polybrominated diphenyl ethers(PBDEs), and other chemicals of concern.  Byproduct POPs such as dioxins and furans are formed as a result of combustion processes such as open burning and waste incineration. 

PBDEs, in particular, have been used as flame retardant chemicals in the manufacture of the plastic casings of TV and computer sets, cables and wires, etc.  Like PCBs, dioxins and other POPs, PBDEs possess toxic properties, resist degradation and have a high potential for long-range transport and bio-accumulation, the EcoWaste Coalition said.

The EcoWaste Coalition is part of the “Safe PCB and E-Waste Management Project” led by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Environmental Management Bureau and supported by the Global Environment Facility and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

The said project seeks to protect the Filipino people’s health and the environment through the environmentally sound management of PCBs and PBDEs in e-waste in line with the country's obligations as a party to the Stockholm Convention on POPs.

The EcoWaste Coalition, a waste and pollution watch group, is the project’s civil society partner in charge of implementing its public awareness raising component.


19 July 2018

Garbage on Manila Bay Breakwater Stirs Up Call for Enforcement of Waste Law

The garbage that has accumulated at the breakwater in Manila Bay prompted a waste and pollution watch group to call anew for the strict enforcement of Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.

“The sea sent back the trash from land as if to remind everyone, rich and poor, that whatever we improperly dispose of will return and haunt us,” said Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

Following the habagat or southwest monsoon rains that flooded many parts of Metro Manila, a team from the group’s Basura Patrol went to the bay area and found plastic bags, straws and other disposables, packaging materials like polystyrene, slippers, wood scraps and water hyacinth washed up along the breakwater creating a dumpsite right next to the US Embassy.

“The carpet of garbage along the shore has once again shown the necessity of getting our acts together to prevent garbage from spilling into the waterways and into Manila Bay.  It’s high time for all members of the society to embrace R.A. 9003 ,” Alejandre said.

Waste audits conducted by the EcoWaste Coalition, Cavite Green Coalition, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Greenpeace, Mother Earth Foundation, and waste pickers' groups at the Manila Bay in 2016, 2014, 2010 and 2006 found  plastic wastes topping the bay’s flotsam.  The 2016 waste audit, for example, collected 1,482 kilos of garbage, 79 percent of which were assorted plastic materials.

Enacted in December 2000 six months after the deadly Payatas dumpsite tragedy, R.A. 9003, as written in Section 2 (Declaration of Policies), seeks to “ensure the proper segregation, collection, transport, storage, treatment and disposal of solid waste through the formulation and adoption of the best environmental practice in ecological waste management excluding incineration.”

It prohibits, as stated in Section 48 (Prohibited Acts), littering, open burning, open dumping, the manufacture, distribution or use of non-environmentally acceptable packaging materials, the importation of consumer products in non-environmentally acceptable materials as well as the importation of toxic waste represented as “recyclable.”

“Individuals, households, businesses and institutions need to consume responsibly, avoid single-use plastics such as bags, straws and stirrers, and keep discards separated,” Alejandre said.  

Non-biodegradable discards such as papers and cartons, glass and plastic bottles, aluminum and tin cans can be repurposed, reused or recycled, while the biodegradable discards can be fed to animals or composted to produce soil amendments for garden or farm, the EcoWaste Coalition said.

Special waste such as busted lamps, broken TVs, and other electronic waste should be managed separately and safely as these contain hazardous substances such as mercury, cadmium, lead and other heavy metals, and persistent organic pollutants like polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs).

“Companies need to design waste out of the manufacturing processes and in the products themselves, particularly by substituting hazardous inputs with non-toxic alternatives and by switching to safe and reusable packaging materials,” Alejandre said.

“The government, particularly Congress, should make laws that will ban single-use plastics and ban harmful chemicals in packaging materials,” he added.

The genuine enforcement of R.A. 9003 and other pollution prevention laws like the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act is absolutely needed to protect public health and the environment and promote cleaner, safer and sustainable communities, the EcoWaste Coalition said.


17 July 2018

EcoWaste Coalition Warns Anew vs. Wet Wipes that May Trigger Skin Allergy Among Babies

Baby wipes containing MCI/MIT, which are banned in leave-on cosmetics, including wet wipes
Baby wipes lacking the required product notifications that were purchased from retailers in Pasay City
 A sales attendant arranges baby wipe products at a retail store in Pasay City

A waste and pollution watch group has again alerted both government regulators and consumers against the proliferation of pre-moistened baby wet wipes that  may cause allergic reactions.

“Consumers should steer clear of wet wipes and other leave-on personal care products  containing banned MCI/MIT preservatives that can cause itchy red rash on the sensitive skin of babies and children,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

MCI, which stands for methylchloroisothiazolinone, and MIT, which means methylisothiazolinone (MCI/MIT), are preservatives that are not allowed in leave-on cosmetic products, including wet wipes, under the ASEAN and the European Union cosmetic directives as these compounds can bring about allergic contact dermatitis.

“Consumers should carefully read the product labels, avoid wipes containing MCI/MIT and shun those that have not been assessed by health authorities for their quality and safety,” Dizon pointed out.

“We also advise consumers not to flush used wet wipes or throw them on streets or canals as these may block the drainage and sewer systems, clog anti-flood pumping stations, ruin wastewater pumps, and aggravate the plastic pollution of water bodies and the oceans” Dizon added.

In a report submitted today to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the EcoWaste Coalition informed the agency about the illegal sale of unregistered wet wipes in retail establishments in Pasay City.

In test buys conducted last July 14, the group managed to purchase 12 brands of wet wipes marketed for use in cleansing babies’ sensitive skin that have not undergone quality and safety verification by the FDA.

None of these 12 baby wipes, costing P15 to P83.75 per pack, had the required product notifications.

More alarmingly, five of the 12 products listed banned preservatives MCI/MIT as ingredients.

These five products are Aierdan Baby Tender Baby Wipes, Baby Tender Baby Wipes, Dang Yang DY 999 Baby Wipes, Dong Bang Baby Tender Baby Wipes, and Toallitas de Bebe Baby Wipes.

Cosmetic regulators have disallowed MCI/MIT in leave-on cosmetics as “no safe concentrations” of these preservatives have been determined that will not induce allergy.

For children’s health and safety, the EcoWaste Coalition urged the FDA to issue an advisory focusing on baby wet wipes that will warn the public against the purchase and use of unnotified baby wipes.

“The advisory should particularly warn consumers against products containing MCI/MIT that can provoke allergic contact dermatitis to sensitized persons,” the group said.

The group further urged the FDA to conduct law enforcement action to rid both the formal and informal market of unnotified baby wipes with special emphasis on products containing banned MCI/MIT.


16 July 2018

Environmentalists Urge PRRD to Present Ecological Solutions to the Country’s Waste and Pollution Problems in His SONA

Green campaigners today urged President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to emphasize ecological solutions to the waste and pollution problems afflicting the country in his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 23.

“We hope the President will use the SONA to rally the whole nation in embracing proven waste prevention and reduction strategies, including waste segregation at source, reusing, recycling and composting, to tame the ballooning national production of garbage estimated at over 40,000 tons per day,” said Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Now is the time for the President to direct national government agencies and local government units to actively implement R.A. 9003 through the replication of best practices in ecological discards management and the strict enforcement of prohibited acts such as the manufacture, distribution or use of non-environmentally acceptable packaging materials, littering, open dumping, open burning, and waste incineration,”  he said.

R.A. 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, requires a comprehensive and ecological approach to managing municipal solid waste via waste prevention, reduction, source separation, reuse, recycling and composting, excluding waste incineration.

Ruel Cabile, Anti-Incinerator Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition, appealed to the President to reconsider his stance as regards the establishment of waste-to-energy (WtE) incineration plants for burning discards.

“Burning discards in WtE facilities will only worsen the country’s garbage situation as this quick-fix ‘solution’ will only encourage reckless consumption and throw-away attitude and lead to the release of by-product pollutants of combustion such as dioxins and other environmental contaminants.  What our communities need are functional materials recovery facilities and clean recycling factories rather than waste burners,” he said.

Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition, expressed his hope that President Duterte will back progressive policies and measures that will protect public health and the environment against hazardous chemicals, products and wastes.
“We expect the chief executive to also weigh in on the need to protect our people against health and environmental harms caused by chemical exposure and the need for companies to shift to clean production and to make those polluting the ecosystems pay,” he said.

Dizon also urged the Duterte government to ratify the Minamata Convention on Mercury and implement mercury pollution prevention measures, including making the dormant US$1.37 million mercury lamp waste recycling facility operational in 2018.

“It is also high time for the President to make his voice heard regarding the plastic and chemical pollution that is making our oceans dirty and sick.  We hope he will declare the ban on single-use plastics such as plastic bags, straws and stirrers, as well as the ban on microplastics in cosmetics, as a government priority to curb the plastic and chemical assault on our oceans and the food supply,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

Lucero also pressed President Duterte to, once and for all, declare in his SONA the return of the illegal garbage shipments from Canada and the tightening of laws and regulations to prevent foreign waste dumping, including banning waste imports and ratifying the Basel Ban Amendment, which seeks to protect developing countries from becoming dumping grounds for waste, including toxic and hazardous wastes, from developed countries.


12 July 2018

Groups Back Proposed QC Ordinance Banning Mercury-Laden Skin Whitening Cosmetics

An ordinance that will ban and penalize the manufacture, distribution and sale of mercury-containing skin whitening cosmetics in Quezon City has garnered the support of environmental and health groups in the city.

Introduced by District 1 Councilor Elizabeth Delarmente and filed last July 10, PO-20 CC-439  seeks to ensure strict compliance by business and commercial establishments, as well as street, tiangge and online vendors, to the government regulation prohibiting mercury in cosmetics above one part per million (ppm).

The ordinance will apply to cosmetics such as creams, lotions and soaps that are designed to lighten or whiten the color of the skin.

“The ordinance, we hope, will be swiftly acted upon by our councilors to end the persistent trade of banned mercury-tainted cosmetics in Quezon City that pose serious health risks to consumers,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

The group has repeatedly called attention to such unlawful trade in Metro Manila.  In May 2018, for example, the group bared the illegal sale of skin lightening cosmetics in Cubao, Quezon City with mercury as much as 21,100 times the trace amount limit of one ppm.

“Such a measure will help in reducing mercury releases to air, water and soil from mercury in products and wastes and should be unanimously supported,” noted Sonia Mendoza, Chairman, Mother Earth Foundation. 

As stated in Delarmente’s draft ordinance, the measure aims to: 

-- To halt the illegal manufacture, importation, marketing and promotion, distribution and sale of cosmetic products not compliant with the state and ASEAN policy on mercury in cosmetics.  

 --To promote citizen awareness about the health and environmental hazards of consuming mercury-containing cosmetics.

--To ensure the environmentally-sound management of banned, recalled and/or confiscated mercury-containing cosmetics.

If approved, the ordinance will not only ban the trade of cosmetics with mercury content in excess of one ppm, but will also ban the open dumping, open burning and/or disposal of banned, recalled and/or confiscated mercury-containing cosmetics along with regular municipal solid waste.

Proposed penalties include a fine of P2,000 for the first offense, a fine of P3,000 and suspension of business for the second offense, and a fine of P5,000 or imprisonment of 30 days, and cancellation of business license, or both, for the third offense.

In addition, all those convicted by the court will also be required to render 30 days of community service.

The ASEAN Cosmetic Directive prohibits mercury in cosmetic product formulations and sets a maximum limit of one ppm for mercury as a contaminant in cosmetics.  

The Minamata Convention on Mercury has also scheduled the global phase-out by 2020 of cosmetics, including skin lightening creams and soaps, with mercury content above one ppm.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), “adverse health effects brought about by highly toxic mercury in cosmetic products include kidney damage, skin rashes, skin discoloration and scarring.  Chronic use reduces the skin’s normal resistance against bacterial and fungal infections.”

“Other effects include anxiety, depression or psychosis and peripheral neuropathy,” the FDA said.

It also warned that “the transfer of mercury to fetuses of pregnant women may manifest as neurodevelopmental deficits later in life.”


11 July 2018

NGO Pushes for Lead-Safe DBM’s “Green, Green, Green” Projects

As the P2.5 billion “Green, Green, Green” program of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) goes in full swing, a non-profit environmental health organization urged the agency to ensure that funded projects only use paints with no added lead, a toxic chemical.

Through a letter sent today to DBM Secretary Benjamin Diokno and Assistance to Cities Program Manager Julia Nebrija, the EcoWaste Coalition welcomed the “Green, Green, Green” program to make the country’s 145 cities “more livable, sustainable, and well connected through the development or enhancement of public open spaces.” 

According to the group, the “Green, Green, Green” program fits well with UN’s Sustainable Development Goals on “Sustainable Cities and Communities,” and corresponds to one of the goal targets, namely, “by 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities.”

“As some of the projects being proposed for funding under this program may include painting or repainting jobs, we strongly suggest that the mandatory procurement and use of lead-safe paints as verified through third-party certification be included in the evaluation and approval of project proposals received from applicant cities,” said Eileen Sison, President, EcoWaste Coalition.

“The use of lead-safe paints should be duly included by the DBM in the criteria for truly ‘green’ open space development or enhancement projects by our cities,” she added.

Specifying the compulsory procurement and use of certified lead-safe paints will ensure that only paints with no added lead will be used to decorate fences and gates, playground equipment, tables, chairs and benches, recreational facilities, signages, structures, etc., particularly in parks and plazas where children often go for rest and leisure, the group said.   

The group noted that such a requirement will be in sync with DENR A.O. 2013-24 phasing out lead-added paints used for architectural, household and decorative applications on 31 December 2016.  

It will also be in line with DILG Memorandum Circular 2018-26 enjoining local government units (LGUs) to “support the phase-out of lead-containing paints and eventually reduce the hazards and risks posed by such paints to human health."

The said directive by DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año urged local authorities to “adopt a Lead-Safe Paint Procurement Policy to make sure LGUs only purchase and use lead-safe paints for painting jobs paid out of public funds.”

According to the UN-backed Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint (which counts on the  DENR, the Philippine Association of Paint Manufacturers and the EcoWaste Coalition among its members), "paint containing lead additives poses risks to health from poisoning and environmental contamination.”  

“Lead can have permanent health effects on children, but also creates harm in adults.  Childhood lead poisoning, also during pregnancy, can have lifelong health impacts including: learning disabilities, anemia and disorders in coordination, visual, spatial and language skills. There is no known level of lead exposure that is considered safe for adults or children," the alliance said.



https://server2.denr.gov.ph/up loads/rmdd/dao-2013-24.pdf

http://www.dilg.gov.ph/issuanc es/mc/Mandatory-use-of-Lead- Safe-Paints-by-LGUs/2658

https://www.unenvironment.org/ explore-topics/chemicals-waste /what-we-do/emerging-issues/ global-alliance-eliminate- lead-paint

08 July 2018

Manila LGU Urged to Go After Retailers of Banned Mercury-Laden Skin Whitening Cosmetics

A toxics watch group today urged the Manila City Government to take action against retailers of mercury-laced skin whitening products that pose imminent danger or injury to consumers.

The EcoWaste Coalition made the plea after buying two brands of imported skin lightening creams from China that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had banned in 2010 and 2015.

“We call upon the local government, health and police authorities of the City of Manila to go after unscrupulous retailers of banned cosmetics contaminated with mercury, a chemical that is highly hazardous to health and the environment,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

The FDA had earlier requested local government units and law enforcement agencies “to ensure that these products are not sold or made available in their localities or areas of jurisdiction.”

In test buys conducted yesterday, July 7, the group bought Jiaoli Miraculous Cream and S’Zitang 10 Days Eliminating Freckle Day & Night Set from stalls selling beauty products and herbal food supplements at a shopping mall in Recto Avenue, Quiapo, Manila.

With the help of a handheld X-Ray Fluorescence spectrometer, the group detected 2,077 parts per million (ppm) in the day cream of the Jiaoli product and 311 ppm in its night cream.

For the S’Zitang product, the day cream had 2,879 ppm of mercury and the night cream had 1,566 ppm.

Mercury is not allowed as an ingredient in cosmetic product formulations under the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive, which has also set 1 ppm as the maximum trace amount limit for mercury in cosmetics.

According to FDA Advisory 2010-002 banning Jiaoli, “cosmetic products containing such impurities/contaminants that are way beyond the allowable limit clearly pose imminent danger or injury to the consuming public.”

First banned in 2015 through FDA Advisory 2015-025, the FDA reiterated the ban on S’Zitang with the issuance of FDA Advisory 2018-183 last May 29.

According to the FDA, “adverse health effects brought about by highly toxic mercury in cosmetic products include kidney damage, skin rashes, skin discoloration and scarring.  Chronic use reduces the skin’s normal resistance against bacterial and fungal infections.”

“Other effects include anxiety, depression or psychosis and peripheral neuropathy,” the FDA said.

It also warned that “the transfer of mercury to fetuses of pregnant women may manifest as neurodevelopmental deficits later in life.”

The EcoWaste Coalition said that skin lightening creams and soaps with mercury content above 1 ppm are subject to phase-out by 2020 under the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which the Philippines signed in 2013.






07 July 2018

Zero Waste Group Backs Senate Bill Banning Plastic Straws and Stirrers

A waste and pollution watch group threw its support behind a move by Senator Risa Hontiveros to ban plastic drinking straws and coffee stirrers.

“We support Senate Bill 1866 as its enactment will help in eliminating unnecessary plastic products that only add to the garbage plaguing our communities and the world’s oceans,” said Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Plastic straws are not necessary at all except for persons with disabilities or medical conditions and when non-plastic alternatives are not suitable to meet their special needs,” he said.

“We urge our lawmakers to also work for a law banning single-use plastic bags that are thoughtlessly produced, used and disposed of, and often winding up in water bodies and wreaking havoc on aquatic life,” he added.

“The ban on single-use plastics will help in drawing attention to the global plastic pollution crisis, drive industries to find sustainable substitutes to disposables, and promote a shift to eco-friendly lifestyle ” he stated. 

Senate Bill No. 1866, known as the proposed "Plastic Straw and Stirrer Ban of 2018,” aims to prohibit the use of plastic straws and stirrers by restaurants and other establishments, including sari-sari stores, that offer beverages.

The bill allows food service establishments to provide a suitable beverage straw to a person requiring it due to a disability or medical condition.

The bill penalizes food establishments caught providing plastic straws and stirrers with P50,000 for the first offense, P80,000 for the second offense, and a fine of P150,000 and one-year business permit suspension for the third offense 

“As what is at stake is the health of the marine environment and the food chain, the public should back the passage of Senate Bill 1866, and further support a ban on single-use plastic bags that often end up in dumps, landfills, incinerators, and, yes, the oceans,” the EcoWaste Coalition said.   

Single-use plastics have to go to curb the waste and chemical pollution of the oceans and save aquatic animals from consuming plastics or from being entangled in them, the group said. 

Such action is needed as the continuing spillage of plastics and chemicals into water bodies poses significant threats to food safety and security as well, the group also pointed out.   


03 July 2018

EcoWaste Coalition Bats for Clean, Waste-Free Barangays to Combat Leptospirosis

A waste and pollution watch group pushed for ecological management of discards as the number of leptospirosis cases in some regions continues to soar.

Alarmed by the swelling cases of the deadly bacterial disease due to human exposure to Leptospira interrogans, the EcoWaste Coalition pressed the country’s newly-installed barangay officials to adopt waste prevention and reduction measures to avoid garbage from piling up, as well as to avert flooding caused by trash-choked waterways.

The Department of Health (DOH) had earlier ascribed the rise in leptospirosis cases to uncollected garbage and to flooding due to continuous rains with Metro Manila, Western Visayas, Caraga and the Zamboanga peninsula as the regions with most cases.

“Poor waste management attracts rodent infestation and increases the risk of human exposure to the leptospirosis-causing bacteria transmitted through rat urine,” said Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Rats thrive in filthy surroundings such as garbage dumps where they go to find food, rest and hide,” he added.

“Improper trash disposal can also obstruct canals and rivers causing flooding, which forces rats to flee floods and seek shelter on higher ground.  This makes wading and swimming in flooded areas very dangerous as floodwaters may be contaminated with Leptospira bacteria from infected rats,” he said.

“This is why it is imperative for our barangays led by freshly-elected officials to help in enforcing Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, which aims to protect public health and the environment from mismanaged discards,” he emphasized. 

Among other things, R.A. 9003 requires the country’s over 42,000 barangays to develop an ecological solid waste management program, promote waste segregation, implement a segregated collection for biodegradable and non-biodegradable discards, and set up Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs) in every barangay or cluster of barangays.

“Ecological solid waste management can help not only in preventing leptospirosis, but also in preventing cholera, dengue, gastroenteritis, typhoid fever and other common diseases during the rainy season,” he said.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “leptospirosis can be transmitted to humans through cuts and abrasions of the skin, or through the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, and mouth with water contaminated with the urine of infected animals.”

To prevent rat infestation, the EcoWaste Coalition echoed the following “seal up, trap up and clean up” advice from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

1.  Seal up holes inside and outside the home to prevent entry by rodents.

2.  Trap rodents around the home to help reduce the rodent population.
3.  Clean up rodent food sources and nesting sites, and eliminate possible rodent food sources.



02 July 2018

Environmentalists Push for Ban on Single-Use Plastics (“Ocean Polluters” vs. “Ocean Defenders” Dance Showdown Calls Attention to Plastic Garbage Crisis)

Environmental advocates staged a “Bboom Bboom” dance showdown at the promenade by the famed but badly polluted Manila Bay to call attention to the global plastic crisis and press for a national ban on single-use plastics.

The EcoWaste Coalition, a non-profit association for a zero waste and toxics-free Philippines, organized the dance face-off together with allies from the #breakfreefromplastic movement to mark the International Plastic Bags Free Day on July 3, a special day to raise awareness about the adverse environmental impacts of single-use plastics, and promote sustainable alternatives. The activity also forms part of a series of events worldwide to celebrate plastic-free July, a month of global activity demonstrating solidarity around living our lives without single-use plastic.

The gang of “Ocean Polluters” donning plastic trash faced off with the league of “Ocean Defenders” who were seen brandishing handwoven native “bayong” bags and reusable cloth bags.  The youth performers are members of Green Stage Filipinas-Maskara, an affiliate group of the EcoWaste Coalition from Cavite.  

“This fun event has a very serious message for everyone: it’s time to ban single-use plastics from shopping bags to drinking straws to halt the destructive plastic incursion of the oceans that has already reached crisis proportions. The marine ecosystems are choking to death because of the plastic wastes and the cocktail of chemicals that are increasingly dumped into water bodies,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Our lawmakers must heed the signs of the times such as the plastic clogged esteros and the eight million tonnes of plastic spilled into the seas every year and take strong action against the unnecessary applications of plastics,” she said.

Von Hernandez, Global Coordinator of the Break Free from Plastic Movement, noted: “The number of governments and institutions worldwide taking aggressive action to stop the use of single-use plastics continues to grow by the day. This is one area where the Philippines can demonstrate leadership by also banning and phasing-out the use of disposable  plastic items like bags,  cups, straws,  styrofoam food containers, and cutlery nationwide.”

“The fact that these single-use plastics keep ending up in our oceans, coastal areas and dumpsites prove they are problematic, unrecyclable, and almost impossible to manage. Besides, binging on the use of plastic items that one uses for only a matter of minutes and yet will outlive us by hundreds of years is just plain absurd and irresponsible," he pointed out.

“As we grapple with the magnitude of the plastic pollution problem we are facing right now, our government should work double time to solve this crisis.   We are counting on Senators Loren Legarda and Juan Miguel Zubiri and other legislators from both the House of Representatives and the Senate to join forces and get a national legislation banning single-use plastics enacted by the current Congress,” said Angelica Carballo Pago, Media Campaigner, Greenpeace Southeast Asia - Philippines.  

Legarda and Zubiri last month publicly declared their support for a legislation that will prohibit single-use plastics.  

Having signed up to the UN Environment’s #CleanSeas campaign against marine litter, the government should waste no time and make the banning of single-use plastics a national priority to protect fish, a staple food for Filipinos, as well as fish-based livelihoods, which plays a key role in the country’s food security, the groups said.

As the desired law is being prepared, the groups appealed to the industries to reduce plastic packaging, design toxic chemicals and wastes out of processes and products, and take responsibility for their products at the end of their lifecycle, including their retrieval and recycling. 

The groups further reiterated the need for consumers to stop the superfluous uses of plastics and aim for plastic waste prevention and reduction instead of the typical buy-use-throw habit.

According to some studies, if plastic waste spillage from land sources is not discontinued, by 2050 oceans will have more plastic than fish.


Break Free From Plastic is a global movement envisioning a future free from plastic pollution. Since its launch in September 2016, over 1,200 groups from across the world have joined the movement to demand massive reductions in single-use plastics and to push for lasting solutions to the plastic pollution crisis. These organizations share the common values of environmental protection and social justice, which guide their work at the community level and represent a global, unified vision. www.breakfreefromplastic.org. 

EcoWaste Coalition is a non-government and non-profit network of community, church, school, environmental and health groups engaged in the promotion and protection of public health and the environment toward the envisioned zero waste and toxics-free society.