The toxics watchdog group EcoWaste Coalition has called on the customs authorities to block the entry of paint products containing dangerous levels of lead in violation of the country's regulation banning lead in all paints.
The group pressed the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to step in after detecting dangerous concentrations of lead in 37 samples of imported spray paints representing 19 brands manufactured mainly in China, Taiwan and Thailand.
"We appeal to the BOC to instruct port authorities to reject paint imports lacking verifiable certificate of analysis confirming compliance to our country's lead paint regulation," stated Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
"It's completely unfair to allow the entry of leaded paints while local paint manufacturers follow the ban on lead paints to protect our children and other vulnerable sectors against lead exposure," he pointed out.
In a joint study with the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) released last Friday, the EcoWaste Coalition revealed that 37 of the 87 analyzed samples had lead levels hundreds of times higher than the 90 parts per million (ppm) maximum limit set by DENR's Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds.
Of the 37 leaded spray paints discovered, 29 contained dangerously high lead concentrations ranging from 11,700 to 82,100 ppm.
The report "Lead in Spray Paints for Consumer Use in the Philippines" provides the first publicly available data on the lead content of paints in aerosol cans sold in the country, which are typically used as a touch-up paint for appliances, cars, accessories and decors, as well as a material for school projects.
The 87 samples were obtained from hardware stores, home improvement centers, general merchandise marts, and school and office supplies shops in 20 cities and one municipality in Luzon. SGS Philippines carried out the laboratory tests.
The Philippine Association of Paint Manufacturers (PAPM) confirmed that none of the analyzed samples in the said study was produced by one of its 25 affiliated paint producers.
“Lead paint is a major source of childhood lead exposure affecting large numbers of children in the world. To protect children’s health, governments and other stakeholders across the globe, including the Philippines, are taking measures to ban lead in all paints,” said Dr. Sara Brosché, Global Lead Paint Elimination Campaign Manager, IPEN.
“Together with the EcoWaste Coalition and PAPM, we support the effective implementation of laws and regulations that will keep children and other vulnerable groups safe from irreparable harms caused by exposure to lead in contaminated paint, dust and soil,” she added.
Lead-containing decorative paints in the Philippines were phased out in December 2016 and lead-containing industrial paints in December 2019 in accordance with DENR A.O. 2013-24.
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Link to the report "Lead in Spray Paints for Consumer Use in the Philippines":
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