Cebu City Council’s Call for Lead Safe Paint Procurement Policy Lauded

12 June 2014, Cebu City/Quezon City.  Various sectors of the society commended the Cebu
City Council for unanimously approving a resolution in its session yesterday
urging the city government to adopt a lead safe procurement policy.

Through the resolution sponsored by
Councilor Nida Cabrera, the City Council requested Mayor Michael L. Rama “to
issue an appropriate directive to specify ‘lead safe paint’, or paint that does
not contain lead above the regulatory limit of 90 parts per million (ppm)” in
paint purchase orders. 
The councilors explicitly cited the need to
use lead safe paints “as a requirement for the procurement of paints to be used
in the city government-funded projects, especially for  applications likely to contribute to childhood
lead exposure such as paints used  in
coating interiors, exteriors, furniture and fixtures in all government
buildings, schools, day care centers, parks, playgrounds, hospitals and other
healthcare facilities.”
In the resolution, the councilors “recognize
that children who are exposed to lead are likely to suffer lifelong impacts
that are generally irreversible, including mental retardation, decreased
intelligence, poorer school performance, aggressive behavior, and reduced
workforce productivity.”
The councilors further stated that the City
Council “is one with the national government and the international community in
protecting children and other vulnerable groups such as women and workers from
being exposed and harmed by lead such as through lead paint, dust and soil.”
The action by the City Council immediately
drew positive comments from various civic leaders and professionals.
University of Cebu law professor and
environmentalist Atty. Gloria Estenzo-Ramos said the adoption of the resolution
“is a vital step in the right direction that will protect the public from
avoidable sources of lead poisoning, as well as save public funds from costly
remediation procedures for lead contaminated buildings.” 
Medical doctor Jose Antonio Siwa Quitevis of
the Philippine Pediatric Society Central Visayas Chapter and Vice-President of
the Philippine Society of Pediatric Hematology commented that “the policy, if
carried out, will help in preventing fetal and childhood exposure to lead, a
toxin that is most injurious to the developing brain.”

Jimson C. Ong, President of the Philippine
Institute of Architects (PIA) Cebu Section, thought that “the resolution will
not only guide the Architects on what paints to specify but will further create
a lead-safe consciousness among designers and building contractors, thus,
creating a lead-safe environment as a whole.”

From Metro Manila, Aileen Lucero, Coordinator
of the Quezon City-based EcoWaste Coalition congratulated the Cebu City Council
for “its collective stance to promote a lead safe environment that other local
governments should take notice of and follow.” 

The councilors cited the “Asian Regional
Paint Report” published with support from the European Union indicating that
“76% of the 803 paint samples analyzed in seven countries, including 122 from
the Philippines, contained lead at concentrations exceeding 90 ppm  and many contained dangerously high lead
levels above 10,000 ppm.”
The councilors duly noted that many local
paint manufacturers have stopped using lead for enamel decorative paints or are
in the process of transitioning to non-lead paint production, adding that a
broad array of lead safe paints is commercially available at competitive
On December 23, 2013, Environment Secretary
Ramon J.P. Paje signed DENR Administrative Order 2013-24, which establishes a
threshold limit for total lead in paints of 90 ppm, and sets a phase out period
of three years (2013-2016) for 
architectural, decorative,  household  applications and  six 
(6)  years  (2013-201 9) 
for  industrial applications.

The CCO strictly prohibits the use of lead
and lead compounds in the manufacturing of packaging for food and drink, fuel
additives, water pipes, toys, school supplies and cosmetics, and imposes
restrictions towards eliminating lead paints.