EcoWaste Coalition Decries Illegal Trade of Forbidden Lead-Containing Spray Paints

As the UN-backed International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (ILPPW) nears its end this Saturday, the EcoWaste Coalition, a toxics watchdog group, decried the relentless sale of imported lead-containing spray paints in the local market.

The ILPPW which began on October 24 seeks to draw attention to the health impacts of lead exposure, highlight efforts by countries and partners to prevent childhood lead exposure, and accelerate efforts to phase out the use of lead in paint.  The Philippines phased out lead-containing decorative paints on December 31, 2016 and lead-containing industrial paints on December 31, 2019.

“The never-ending sale of imported lead-containing spray paints makes a mockery of the country’s award-winning policy banning lead in all types of paint,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

DENR A.O. 2013-24, or the Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds, bagged the prestigious 2021 Future Policy Award (special category on lead in paints) last June for prohibiting lead in paint manufacturing to protect human health and the environment.

“Our discovery of more spray paints with dangerously high lead concentrations above 10,000 ppm gives further reason for strict customs checks for paint imports,” Dizon pointed out.   

"Effective compliance monitoring will go well with the local paint industry's continuing drive to produce lead-safe and eco-friendly paint products," he added.

The EcoWaste Coalition's latest call for improved enforcement of the lead paint ban followed its fresh discovery of 15 more spray paints with immensely high lead content.  The samples were procured from offline and online retailers on October 6-8 and screened for lead using an X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) device on October 9.

Banned lead was detected on the twelve variants of King Sfon Aerosol Spray, including lemon yellow with 64,400 ppm, gold 28,500 ppm, yellow 26,500 ppm, orange 26,400 ppm, orange red 24,200 ppm, orange yellow 17,400 ppm, leaf green 12,300, grass green 12,200 ppm, metallic green 10,200 ppm, silver red 8,639 ppm, violet 2,969 ppm, and Honda red with 1,453 ppm of lead.

The Silvestre Spray Paint (high temp yellow), MKT Spray Paint (art yellow) and Yandy Spray Paint (canary yellow) were likewise found to contain lead at 38,500 ppm, 26,500 ppm and 23,200 ppm, respectively.

The 12 variants of King Sfron Aerosol Spray were obtained for P68 to P150 each from stores selling motorcycle parts and accessories at 999 Shopping Mall, while the Yandy Spray Paint was purchased for P100 from a store at Divisoria Mall.  The MKT Spray Paint and the Silvestre Spray Paint were purchased from online dealers at Lazada and Shopee for P173 and P250 each. 

Since the EcoWaste Coalition published its joint report with IPEN on “Lead in Spray Paints for Consumer Use in the Philippines” last year, the group had so far tracked 94 imported lead-containing spray paints bought from hardware stores and other retail shops, as well as third-party dealers in online shopping platforms.

To protect children and other vulnerable groups such as workers and pregnant women against lead exposure, the EcoWaste Coalition urged the authorities to take immediate action to stop the illicit trade of lead-containing paints.

“We'll continue to push for the strict enforcement of the country’s lead paint regulation in order to safeguard our children and other susceptible groups from adverse health effects due to exposure to paint, dust and soil contaminated with lead, a potent neurotoxin,” the EcoWaste Coalition concluded.