Government, Industry and Civil Society Affirm Unity to Ensure Phase-Out of Lead in Architectural, Decorative and Household Paints by December 2016

Miss Earth 2015 Angelia Ong joins EcoWaste Coalition’s leaders Ochie Tolentino (left) and Sonia Mendoza (right) in drawing attention and compliance to the December 2016 phase-out deadline for lead-containing architectural, decorative and household paints in line with DENR A.O. 2013-24.

In an
exceptional manifestation of unity, the government, the industry and the civil
society reiterated their agreement to promote full compliance to the phase-out
of paints for architectural, decorative and household (ADH) uses by December

The Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), Philippine Association of Paint
Manufacturers (PAPM) and the EcoWaste Coalition restated their commitment
through a press statement issued to mark the second anniversary of the
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Administrative Order
2013-24, also known as the Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds.

DENR A.O. 2013-24 signed by DENR Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje on December 23, 2013  provides for the regulatory framework that
limits total lead content in paint at 90 parts per million and establishes
a  phase-out period from 2013-2016 for
leaded ADH paints, and from 2013-2019 for leaded industrial paints. 

“The phase-out
of lead-based paints in the Philippine market is on-going and we are targeting
to drastically reduce the risk from lead paint chips and dust, which are
recognized as major sources of children’s exposure to lead.  As there is no known level of lead exposure
that is considered safe for any child, let us be vigilant and support efforts to make
the Philippines meet the global goal of eliminating lead paint,” said DENR Assistant
Secretary Juan Miguel Cuna and concurrent EMB Director.  

“Paint manufacturers in the country are
in various stages of removing lead compounds as pigments for enamel or
oil-based paints.  We are pleased to
confirm that a growing number of paint companies, including small and
medium-sized paint makers, are reformulating their products to meet the regulatory
limit for lead for all types of paints with high priority given to paints most
likely to contribute to childhood lead exposure such as those used on houses,
schools and products such as toys,” said Vergel Dyoco, Chairperson of the
Technical Committee, PAPM, which includes 23 paint manufacturing companies.  

“The next 12 months will be crunch time for paint companies that have yet to
complete the reformulation of lead-containing ADH paints.  We are confident that the transition to
non-lead paint production will gather further speed as the government, industry
and civil society rally behind the enforcement of DENR A.O. 2013-24.   There is no turning back on protecting Filipino
children from being harmed by lead in paint and dust,” said Sonia Mendoza,
President, EcoWaste Coalition.

Lead exposure in children, according to the World Health Organization, impairs
the developing brain and causes neurological deficits.  It is associated with decreased intelligence
as measured by IQ tests, reduced school performance, increased violent behavior
and incarceration rates, increased cased of mild mental retardation, and decreased
labor productivity as measured by lifelong earning potential.

According to IPEN (a global civil society network promoting safe chemicals
policies and practices), paints contain lead when the manufacturer
intentionally adds one or more leaded compounds to the paint as pigment, drier
or for some other purposes. A paint product may also contain some amount of
lead when paint ingredients contaminated with lead are used, or when there is
cross-contamination from other product lines in the same factory. Water-based
paints are rarely contaminated with lead, but solvent-based enamel paints have
been found to have high lead content in many countries. 

Along with the flourishing economies of Indonesia and Vietnam, the Philippines
is regarded as one of the major drivers of the Association of Southeast Asian
Nations (ASEAN) paint market in the future, with the regional bloc’s collective
GDP predicted to grow by 250 percent in the next 20 years, as reported by the
Asian Paint Industry Council. 

According to industry sources, the local paint manufacturing sector grows by 5
to 10 percent yearly with estimated total paint volume in 2013 reaching 270
million liters, of which 70 percent is decorative paints, which is further
split to 40 percent solvent-based decorative paints and 60 percent water-based
decorative paints.