Cebu Groups Join Drive to Eliminate Lead in Paints for Children’s Health

Cebu City – The University of Cebu and partners Visayas Climate Action Network, Environmental Design, Inc. Share a Child, and Global Legal Action on Climate Change echoed today the launch of the “Lead in New Paints – A Global Study” where the Philippines participated with nine other countries in having household paints available in their market tested for lead, a neurotoxicant. The study was launched last Monday in Manila by the EcoWaste Coalition.

The study revealed that of the 25 paint samples from the Philippines, 40% have lead concentrations way beyond the present United States threshold of 90 parts per million (ppm), and 36% exceeded the old 600ppm standard. One sample even reached a staggering lead level of 189,163.5 ppm.

Professor Scott Clark, a visiting scientist from the University of Cincinnati who spent almost 40 years of his career in research of heavy metals and their adverse effects in the environment and health, said that, “this removes any shadow of doubt that lead is still being used in paint manufacturing,” and that the presence of lead in paint is “a lamentable fact considering the availability of lead-free paints since the 1800s.”

Lead can cause permanent nervous system damage and may cause diminished intelligence even at very low exposures. The US Environmental Protection Agency has determined that lead is a probable human carcinogen. Severe exposures can lead to mental retardation and death.

“There should be an administrative order outlawing the use of lead in paint,” declared UC College of Law professor and environmental activist Atty. Gloria Estenzo Ramos. “Lead paint is robbing us of a healthy future every time we welcome it in our homes, schools and workplaces,” she emphasized.

“Eliminating lead from paint is as possible as its removal from gasoline,” asserted Paeng Lopez, of EcoWaste Coalition. “We achieved that remarkable regulation once; we can do it again for our children’s sake,” he followed.

According to the report, enamel samples of Sphero, Popular, Mana, and Boysen had low lead concentrations, while enamel samples from Dutch Boy, Globe, Coat Saver, Davies, Master, Nation, Olympic, and Welcoat were found to have high lead concentrations.

The global report collected a total of 317 paint samples from Brazil, Mexico, Belarus, Senegal, South Africa, Nigeria, Tanzania, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines.

EcoWaste Coalition vowed to continue their awareness campaign for as long as “this terrible substance insidiously invades the soundness of the health of our loved ones, especially of our children’s.”

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