EcoWaste Coalition Hails Lead Control Policy as Best Christmas Gift to Filipino Kids

new chemical regulation will prevent and reduce childhood exposure to
lead in paint and other pollution sources, environmentalists said today.
The EcoWaste
Coalition, an environmental network of over 150 groups promoting zero
waste, chemical safety and climate justice, lauded the Department of
Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for promulgating a Chemical
Control Order (CCO) regulating lead, a cumulative neurotoxin with no
safe level of exposure that is exceptionally harmful to young children.

Lead poisoning, described by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a
“scourge to human health for millennia,” is known to cause
neurological, reproductive, developmental and behavioral problems that according to WHO are “irreversible and untreatable by modern medicine.”

DENR Secretary signed the CCO yesterday, December 23, which will take
effect one month after publication in the Official Gazette or two
newspapers of general circulation.

its salient provisions that drew cheers from environmental and children
health advocates is the prohibition of lead in paint above 90 parts per
million (ppm), the current US standard for lead in decorative paints.

Aside from setting a maximum permissible lead content in paint, the
CCO prescribes a phase out period of three years for leaded
architectural or decorative paints and six years for leaded industrial
paints, including automotive and aviation paints.

According to
the UN-established Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint (GAELP)
which includes the EcoWaste Coalition as member, “children can be
severely affected by eating lead-based paint chips, chewing on objects,
including toys painted with lead-based paint, or from exposure to dust
or soil that contains lead from paint.”
“We laud
Secretary Paje for heeding our long-standing appeal for regulatory
action to eliminate lead in paint and halt a major source of lead
exposure among children,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator of
the EcoWaste Coalition.
“Finally, we
have a legal framework that is sure to energize the ongoing switch to
non-lead paint manufacturing that is broadly backed by the government,
industry and civil society, including professional health sector,” she
“This is a
splendid Christmas gift to our children whose exposure to lead even at
low doses can result in reduced intelligence and even in reduced
economic productivity later in life,” she stated.
The work to
craft a CCO on lead commenced way back in 2007, but did not move forward
until the EcoWaste Coalition in 2011 drew the attention of consumers,
policy makers and  industry leaders to the issue through its successive studies on lead in paints and consumer products in the market.
to the demand for regulatory policy, the Environmental Management Bureau
organized a series of stakeholders’ meetings in 2011 and 2012 that
eventually led to the completion of the CCO drafting process this year.
October, the EcoWaste Coalition initiated a series of activities in
support to the first ever International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week
of Action, including the release of a EU-funded study that detected lead above 90 ppm in 75 out of 122 paint samples analyzed at a private laboratory in Italy.
The EcoWaste
Coalition implements the IPEN Asian Lead Paint Elimination Project in
the country, which is funded out of a PHP80 million EU grant for the
seven-country project, including Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal,
Sri Lanka, Thailand and the Philippines.

Additional Information:
IPEN’s Asian
Lead Paint Elimination Project is a project of IPEN, an international
NGO working to minimize and, whenever possible, eliminate hazardous
toxic chemicals. IPEN’s lead elimination projects are
working to eliminate lead in paint worldwide and raise widespread
awareness among business entrepreneurs and consumers about the adverse
human health impacts of lead-based decorative paints, particularly on
the health of children under six years old. The seven Asian countries
participating in the project include Bangladesh, India, Indonesia,
Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The project includes
periodical testing of lead in paints; information to small and medium
paint manufacturers, distributors and retailers to help them shift from
lead-based to no-added lead paint formulations; third party
certification and labelling that includes information on lead;
consultation with key government institutions to enact a
globally-accepted standard for lead in paints; preparation and
dissemination of information, education and communication(IEC)
materials, as well as awareness-raising activities about lead paint and
its subsequent effects on children, public health, and the environment.