Watch Group Finds School Gardening Tools Laden with Toxic Lead

Gardening tools coated with  lead-containing paints (above) and those without (bottom).
An advocate for the prevention of childhood lead exposure
alerted school authorities against the use of gardening tools that are coated
with lead-containing paints.
The EcoWaste Coalition, a non-profit environmental and
health group, aired the warning following the detection of high concentrations
of lead, a potent neurotoxin, in eight of 20 samples of gardening tools.
The tools, which are commonly used in home, community and
school gardening activities, were purchased for P20 to P65 each from general
merchandise stores, hardware centers and sidewalk vendors in Monumento,
Caloocan City, Divisoria, Manila City, and in Makati City and Pasay City. 
The EcoWaste Coalition analyzed the gardening tools,
including hand shovels, rakes, forks and cultivators, as part of its
“Toxic-Free Back-to-School” drive.
“We found excessive lead paint levels on some of these
gardening tools that are often used in school gardening activities,” stated
Thony Dizon, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.
Of the 20 gardening tools, eight were found to be
decorated with paints containing dangerous concentrations of lead up to 20,400
parts per million (ppm), way above the 90 ppm total lead content limit under
the DENR A.O. 2013-24, or the Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead
“We are concerned that the lead coated gardening tools
will deteriorate and rust with frequent use. 
This will cause the paint to peel and for its lead content to
contaminate the soil,” said Dizon.
“A child can be exposed to lead if the lead-contaminated
soil gets into his hands and mouth while gardening or playing in the dirt,” he
pointed out.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “young
children are particularly vulnerable because they absorb 4–5 times as much
ingested lead as adults from a given source.”
“Moreover, children’s innate curiosity and their
age-appropriate hand-to-mouth behavior result in their mouthing and swallowing
lead-containing or lead-coated objects, such as contaminated soil or dust and
flakes from decaying lead-containing paint,” the WHO explained.
“Undernourished children are more susceptible to lead
because their bodies absorb more lead if other nutrients, such as calcium, are
lacking. Children at highest risk are the very young (including the developing
fetus) and the impoverished,” the WHO.
“Lead affects children’s brain development resulting in
reduced intelligence quotient (IQ), behavioural changes such as reduced
attention span and increased antisocial behavior, and reduced educational
attainment,” the WHO empahsized.

EcoWaste Coalition
Unit 336, Eagle Court, 26 Matalino St., 1100 Quezon City,
Phone/Fax: 4411846 
E-Mail: info@ecowastecoalition.org

Website: http://ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com