Coalition held a press briefing today to draw the attention of government
regulators and parents on lead-containing baby furniture and the urgent need to
prevent infant exposure to toxic lead.
order to inform the public and to push the government to act, on the basis of
the precautionary principle, to protect helpless babies from being exposed to
toxic lead in paint chip and dust,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the
EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.
(XRF) device, high levels of lead were detected
on the yellow painted balls of two locally-made wooden cribs that the
group bought from furniture stores in Maypajo, Caloocan City and Sta. Cruz,
content reaching 7 ,871 parts per million (ppm), and the one from Sta. Cruz,
costing P1,000, had 6,938 ppm, exceeding the target 90 ppm maximum allowable
limit for lead in paint under the DENR Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead
turquoise colored balls, as well as in the white-coated frame, providing
evidence that lead-safe paints are available for use in children’s furniture.
furniture, we were deeply shocked to find lead on infant beds that may be
exposing babies to this health-damaging substance at an extremely sensitive
stage of their development,” he said.
to a private laboratory were found to contain lead up to 20,680 ppm.
or peel over time and get ingested by babies.
hand to mouth behaviour. They may even
bite on the lead-painted balls, especially during the teething phase, thus
increasing the risk of exposure,” Dizon said.
Annabelle Sinlao stated that “even at very low exposures, lead causes serious
and permanent health effects, especially for children, such as brain and central
nervous system damage, mental retardation, decreased bone and muscle growth, hearing,
speech and language problems, learning disabilities, low school performance,
poor impulse control and aggressive behaviour.
Sinlao is lecturer at Manila Central University College of Medicine and
resource person of Health Care Without Harm.
Quoting the World Health Organization’s study on
“Childhood Lead Poisoning,” the EcoWaste Coalition emphasized that “the
consequences of brain injury from
exposure to lead in early life are
loss of intelligence, shortening of
attention span and disruption of behavior.”
brain has little capacity for repair, these
effects are untreatable and irreversible. They
cause diminution in brain function and reduction in achievement that
last throughout life.”
The WHO has warned that “children are particularly
vulnerable to the neurotoxic effects of lead, and even relatively low levels of
exposure can cause serious and in some cases irreversible neurological damage,”
stressing “there is no known level of lead exposure that is considered safe.”
Chemist Jeiel Guarino, Global Lead Paint Elimination
Campaigner of IPEN (an international NGO network promoting safe chemicals
policies and practices), said that “it’s our shared responsibility to remove
sources of lead pollution in children’s environment such lead-containing paints
used at homes, schools, day care centers and playgrounds.”
effect in December 2016, we urge paint consumers, including furniture makers,
to choose lead safe paints to curb childhood lead poisoning,” he said, adding
that “a range of paints without added lead are available in hardware and paint
To prevent potential childhood lead exposure, the EcoWaste Coalition has asked
the Department of Health (DOH) as well as the Department of Environment and
Natural Resources (DENR) to act.
initiate a product recall order to prevent the further distribution and sale of
the lead-tainted cribs as indicated in the letter that the group sent to the
agency on November 25.
list of prohibited uses of lead under the Chemical Control Order for Lead and
Lead Compounds to include the prohibition on the use of lead in the production
of children’s furniture and other items that are likely to cause childhood lead
of school supplies and toys, among other things.