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EcoWaste Coalition Finds 4 More Thailand-Made Leaded Nikko Spray Paints

Nikko Spray Paints
Lead-containing Nikko Spray Paints purchased by the EcoWaste Coalition from an online dealer.

Quezon City. Taking its cue from a recent advisory by the health authorities in charge of “household/urban hazardous substances,” the EcoWaste Coalition bought additional samples of Thailand-made Nikko Spray Paints and screened them for lead, a toxic chemical banned in paint manufacturing.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) through Advisory No. 2023-1975 issued last September 14, 2023 warned the public against the purchase and use of Nikko Spray All Purpose Quick Drying High Gloss Acrylic (light yellow color) for containing “significant levels of lead… which exceeded the maximum limit of 90 parts per million (ppm).”

To check on the lead content of the other bright colors of Nikko Spray Paints being offered for sale, the EcoWaste Coalition, which has been tracking lead in paint since 2009, bought four other variants from an online dealer for P92.15 per can. The group’s latest investigation is part of its pre-observance of the International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week on October 22-29.

“Based on the screening we conducted on Nikko Spray Paints purchased online, the green, orange, medium yellow and yellow variants of this product labeled ‘made in Thailand’ also contained lead concentrations that are in clear violation of the 90 ppm limit,” said Manny Calonzo of the EcoWaste Coalition.

As measured by an Olympus Vanta M Series X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) analyzer, the medium yellow variant contains 23,940 ppm of lead, while the yellow, green and orange variants had 11,050 ppm, 3,082 ppm and 236 ppm, respectively.

“This is the second brand of imported spray paint from Thailand that we found contaminated with lead,” Calonzo added. Previous analyses by the group found five variants of Korona Spray Paint laden with lead ranging from 428 to 64,800 ppm.

To protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of lead pollution, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) promulgated in 2013 a chemical control order (CCO), which established a 90 ppm limit for lead in all paints and phased out lead-containing decorative and industrial paints in December 2017 and December 2019, respectively.

Stop importation of leaded spray paints

The CCO, which received the Future Policy Award in 2021 (special category on lead paint), applies to paint manufacturers, importers and distributors. As such, paints sold locally in physical and online stores, including those produced abroad, must conform to the 90 ppm limit, the strictest lead paint standard in the world. It is also the recommended limit by the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint, or the Lead Paint Alliance, which counts on the DENR, the Philippine Paint and Coatings Association, Pacific Paint (Boysen) Philippines, Inc., the International Pollutants Elimination Network (PEN) and the EcoWaste Coalition, among its partners.

“It is good public policy to eliminate every source of lead exposure as lead is considered a non-threshold toxicant among young children — there is no known safe threshold for childhood lead exposure. It is regrettable to see continued importation and sale of leaded spray paints in the country as less harmful, cost-effective substitutes to lead are readily available,” said Jeiel Guarino, Global Lead Paint Elimination Campaigner, IPEN.

Citing information from the World Health Organization (WHO), the FDA, as quoted in Advisory No. 2023-1975, said that” lead is a cumulative toxicant that affects multiple body systems and is particularly harmful to young children and can suffer profound and permanent adverse health effects, particularly affecting the development of the brain and nervous system.”

“It also causes long-term harm in adults, including increased risk of high blood pressure and kidney damage. Exposure of pregnant women to high levels of lead can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth and low birth weight. There is no permissible level of exposure to lead that is known to be without harmful effects,” the WHO said.



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