26 October 2023, Davao City/Quezon City. Environmental health groups Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (IDIS) and the EcoWaste Coalition have deplored the illegal sale of some paint products with high lead content in Davao City.
Based on the sampling conducted by the groups coinciding with the UN-backed International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week this October 22 to 28, some aerosol paints with lead content exceeding the 90 parts per million (ppm) limit are unlawfully sold in the city.
“We are shocked to find aerosol paints with high lead concentrations on store shelves as if these products are legal to sell and safe to use,” said Atty. Mark Peñalver, Executive Director, IDIS. “The sale of leaded spray paints goes against the DENR-issued Chemical Control Order banning lead-added paints, as well as Davao City Ordinance No. 0461-18, which, among other things, prohibit the manufacture, distribution and sale of paints with lead above the 90 ppm limit.”
“Together with the regional customs, health and trade offices, we urge the city authorities to conduct law enforcement action to halt this unlawful trade that threatens public health,” he added.
Out of 15 spray paint samples bought from general merchandise and hardware stores on October 24 and 25 for P65 to P190 per can, five were found to contain lead, a toxic chemical banned in the manufacture of paints.
According to the X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) chemical screening performed by the EcoWaste Coalition, the following products contained violative levels of lead:
- Parlux Spray Paint (canary yellow) with 48,930 ppm
- Yestar Spray Paint (art yellow) with 29,150 ppm
- Chappie Spray Paint (orange red) with 12,490 ppm
- Nikko Spray Paint (grass green) with 2,808 ppm
- Bad Axe Spray Paint (sky blue) with 2,618 ppm
Also, past analyses of other bright colored Bad Axe, Nikko and Parlux Spray Paints obtained from retailers in Cebu, Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue Cities; Baliuag City; and Baguio City, respectively, found them contaminated with high levels of lead.
“These ‘all-purpose’ paints are often marketed for use in a wide range of applications, including for decorating bicycles and toys, as well as household furniture and appliances, posing lead exposure risks to children,” said Manny Calonzo, Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition. “Children are highly vulnerable to the adverse effects of lead exposure such as damage to the brain and nervous system, developmental delays, hearing and speech problems, which can cause lower IQ, attention deficits, underperforming at school and behavioral issues.”
“So long as lead paints remain available for sale and use, the potential for lead exposures in young children will grow, hence the need for the lead paint ban to be actively enforced,” he added.
Both IDIS and the EcoWaste Coalition urged regulatory bodies to take immediate action that will uphold the country’s ban on lead-containing paints and the people’s right to be protected against products containing hazardous substances like lead, which can pollute the environment and harm human health.