Laboratory Tests Confirm Excessive Lead Levels in 5 More Spray Paints Sold Online

The EcoWaste Coalition cautioned online shoppers from ordering a brand of imported spray paints containing extremely high concentrations of lead, a toxic chemical banned in paints under Philippine law.

Manufactured in China and sold by a local online seller, five variants of Automatic Spray Paint were found loaded with lead up to 212,000 parts per million (ppm), way above the 90 ppm total lead content limit, as reported in the group's AlerToxic last August 20.

“These spray paints with excessively high levels of lead are illegal to import, distribute and sell in the local market. Online shopping sites are not exempted. Those who profit from this unethical trade should cease and desist from marketing these hazardous products containing lead, a potent neurotoxin,” said Manny Calonzo, Adviser, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Consumers need to be protected against the continued sale of paint products with violative levels of lead. The authorities need to take stern measures to ensure that such hazardous products are no longer offered for sale in line with the basic right of consumers to be safeguarded against products posing hazards to health and life,” he added.  

As confirmed by laboratory tests performed by SGS, a leading global testing company, the five variants submitted by the EcoWaste Coalition for confirmatory analysis failed the limit set under the country’s lead paint regulation.

According to the test results, the orange yellow, lemon yellow, grass green, Jialing red and grain yellow variants of Automatic Spray Paint had 212,000 ppm, 182,000 ppm, 55,900 ppm, 44,700 ppm and 4,950 ppm lead.  

DENR Administrative Order 2013-24, or the Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds, limits maximum total lead content in paints at 90 ppm. The regulation also applies to paints sourced from abroad and sold locally.

This is not the first time that the EcoWaste Coalition had detected violative concentrations of lead in spray paints manufactured in other countries.

In 2020, the EcoWaste Coalition, in collaboration with the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN), discovered 37 spray paints to be lead paints, or paints with lead content exceeding 90 ppm, of which 29 had dangerous lead concentrations surpassing 10,000 ppm.

A follow-up study in 2021 and released in 2022 also found 37 samples with lead above the 90 ppm, of which 30 had extremely high lead levels exceeding 10,000 ppm.

The ban on lead in all paints was imposed to protect children and other vulnerable groups from lead exposure, noting that lead in all its forms is highly toxic, especially to young children. 

Health experts have warned that exposure to lead can seriously damage the brain. When a young child is exposed to lead, the harm to her or his developing brain and nervous system makes it more likely that the child will have difficulties in school and engage in impulsive and violent behavior. 

Lead exposure in young children is also linked to increased rates of hyperactivity, inattentiveness, failure to graduate from high school, conduct disorder, juvenile delinquency, drug use and incarceration.  Lead exposure impacts on children continue throughout life and have a long-term impact on a child’s work performance, and are related to decreased economic success.

"Effective enforcement of the country's ban on lead-containing paints will help in reducing childhood and occupational exposures to lead, a realizable public health goal," the EcoWaste Coalition said.