Groups seek faster phase out for leaded paints

ANTI-toxics groups urged environment officials and state regulators not to extend the phase out period for lead-added paints.

“There is no compelling reason to extend the phase out period for lead-added paints to six years,” the EcoWaste Coalition said.

“We appeal to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to correct this clear case of chemical oversight and injustice by requiring paint companies to transition from lead to non-lead additives at the shortest time possible,” said Edwin Alejo, coordinator of the group.

The groups described the proposed six-year phase out period “as extremely long and totally questionable from the public interest point of view.”

The groups demanded a more rapid implementation of the proposed ban on the use of lead in paints, particularly in decorative paints and other paints most likely to contribute to childhood lead exposure, including anti-corrosive and anti-rust paints sold for consumer use or for use in playgrounds and other locations frequented by children.

“Environment Secretary Paje, we hope, will seize this opportunity to make a huge impact in securing our children’s health and future against preventable lead exposure,” he added.

A draft chemical control order (CCO) for lead and lead compounds, first introduced in 2007, is currently being finalized by the DENR-EMB following stakeholders’ consultations last year.

The CCO, once approved by Secretary Paje, will set a mandatory total lead limit of 90 parts per million (ppm) for decorative paints, a standard at par with that of the United States.

Exposure to lead, a toxic metal, can have deep and lasting health effects on developing fetuses and young children who are most at risk to lead-induced neurological harm, including developmental delays, mental retardation, intelligence quotient (IQ) shortfalls, poor school performance, attention deficit disorder, aggression and other behavioral problems.

Health specialists have identified no “safe” level of lead exposure in children.
“The conspicuously extended phase out period of six years goes against the urgency of phasing out lead-added paint, which is globally recognized as “the world’s most common source of significant childhood lead exposure,” the groups said.

“We believe that unless the government and the society swiftly eliminate the addition of lead in paint formulations, we will end up with more individuals, particularly young children, women of child-bearing age and workers, unwittingly exposed to this chemical poison,” the groups warned.



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