EcoWaste Coalition Lauds QC’s Action to Turn City’s Parks into “Lead-Free” Zones

The EcoWaste Coalition today welcomed the action by the Quezon City Government to mitigate health hazards from lead-containing playground equipment at the Quezon Memorial Circle (QMC) and other city-operated parks.

The QC government swiftly initiated lead paint remediation in response to a toxics investigation conducted by the EcoWaste Coalition last April 23, 2012, which showed high levels of lead in some of QMC’s physical fitness and playground equipment.

The findings prompted the EcoWaste Coalition to urge QC Mayor Herbert Bautista to “initiate lead hazard assessment and remedial action” at QMC and other public facilities frequented by children.

“Heeding your appeal, the QMC management (embarked on) urgent start-up remedial measure to address these concerns,” wrote Engr. Zaldy de la Rosa, QMC Assistant Administrator, to the EcoWaste Coalition.

As a pilot test on lead paint remediation, QMC personnel removed the lead-laden paint of several physical exercise equipment and then coated them with a certified lead-free paint, de la Rosa said.

At the request of the QMC management, the repainted equipment were inspected by the EcoWaste Coalition’s AlerToxicPatrol on May 16 and were screened for lead using an X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) spectrometer.

“If the remedial measure proves to be successful as certified by the toxics watchdog, the physical fitness and playground equipment not only at QMC, but all over the city will have their old paint scraped and treated with lead-free paint,” de la Rosa wrote to the EcoWaste Coalition.

“This for sure, will make the QMC and other city-operated parks, lead-free zones, to ensure that all forms of toxic exposure within public parks are proactively prevented,” he emphasized.

While the lead contents detected during the May 16 inspection were significantly lower than the previous screening on April 23, the repainted equipment still showed unacceptable levels of lead that could be attributed not to the new paint applied, but to the residual lead-based paint in the equipment, according to the EcoWaste Coalition.

For his part, Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect, commended the QC Government for committing to make QMC and other parks under its jurisdiction safe from lead-based playground equipment.

“We laud Mayor Bautista, Engr. de la Rosa and the park personnel for taking swift action to minimize children’s exposure from lead-tainted equipment. This action for public health should be emulated by other local government units,” Dizon said.

“It is our hope that all lead hazard control measures to be carried out by the QC Government,including repainting jobs, will be safely done to contain the lead dust and prevent occupational exposure for the workers,” he added.

The EcoWaste Coalition had earlier suggested to the QC Government to refer to the manual published by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, entitled “Lead Paint Safety: A Field Guide for Painting, Home Maintenance and Renovation Work,” on proper removal of lead-based paint.