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account_balanceMetro News account_circleMichael Lim chat_bubble_outline0 Comments

The toxics watchdog group EcoWaste Coalition is warning consumers against buying and using an imported spray paint, which is loaded with lead, a potent neurotoxin banned in the manufacture of paints.

Ecowaste said that marked “made in PRC” (or the People’s Republic of China) and sold online for P65 per 400 ml. can, Boston Spray Paint was analyzed by the group and found contaminated with high levels of lead. 

The product has no manufacturer’s markings and provided no information about its importer or distributor in the Philippines.  As indicated visually on the label, the product can be used for painting tools, equipment, appliances, benches, fences, container drums, cars, bicycles and motorbikes.

As measured by Olympus Vanta M Series  X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) device, the product contained 10,990 parts per million (ppm) lead, which is way beyond the 90 ppm total lead content limit under the DENR-issued Chemical Control Order (CCO) regulating lead and its compounds.  The product provided no information and warning about its lead content.

“The lead content of this paint product is an outright violation of the CCO,” noted Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition, stressing “its importation, distribution and sale go against our country’s continuing efforts to enforce full compliance to the lead paint ban.”

"The toxic, irreversible impacts of lead to children's brains are well documented for many decades.  It's despicable to see its continued use on spray paints, which are used to spruce up household furniture and fixtures, appliances, play equipment, and toys, thereby unnecessarily exposing children to lead-containing paints," said Jeiel Guarino, Global Lead Paint Elimination Campaigner, International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN).  "Safer alternatives to lead are now available for all types of paints, including spray paints, so there's no excuse for manufacturers to continue using lead raw materials."

Aside from Boston Spray Paint, the EcoWaste Coalition decried the continued sale in online shopping platforms of other spray paint brands with one or more color variants containing lead such as Automatic, Best Drive, Colorz, Haifei, King Sfon, Korona, MKT, Silvestre, and Yandy, which are among the 85 lead-containing products representing 25 brands identified in the EcoWaste Coalition-IPEN report "Imported Lead-Containing Spray Paints Sold in the Philippine Market" published in 2022.

Across the globe, lead paint remains one of the most widespread sources of childhood lead exposure since the phase-out of leaded petroleum.  As explained by the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint: “As lead paint ages the paint starts to decay, fragmenting into flakes and dust that contaminate the indoor and outdoor environment. Paint flakes and contaminated dust are readily swallowed by young children who typically play on the ground and frequently put their hands to their mouths.”

“Lead exposure in early childhood can result in reduced school performance, intelligence quotient (IQ), attention deficit disorder and increased problem behaviours,” the alliance said, adding “lead exposure can also cause hypertension, renal impairment, immunotoxicity and toxicity to the reproductive organs.”

To stop the entry of lead-containing paints into the Philippines, the EcoWaste Coalition asked concerned government agencies to strengthen customs checks for paint imports; direct offline and online sellers to discontinue the unlawful importation, distribution and sale of lead-containing paints; and charge and impose fines and penalties against violators.

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