Quezon City. Following its most recent exposé on 31 lead-containing spray paints, the EcoWaste Coalition today named three more products containing dangerous levels of lead, a potent neurotoxin that has been banned in paint manufacturing.
The toxics watchdog group bought the products from online sellers and had them screened for lead using a handheld X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) analyzer. According to the country’s lead paint regulation, paints and similar surface coatings must not contain lead above the maximum limit of 90 parts per million (ppm).
In clear violation of the said regulation, the deep yellow Yatibay Acrylic Spray Paint was found to contain over 100,000 ppm lead, while the grass green variant of the same brand had 6,164 ppm. The third product, a grass green RMC Spray Paint, contained 43,470 ppm lead.
The two Yatibay paints, sold for P128 per 400 ml can, were manufactured on August 1, 2023, while the RMC paint, sold for P135, was made on May 14, 2020 — way past the phase-out deadline for lead-containing paints.
To recall, manufacturers were given three years from 2013 to 2016 to remove and replace lead as an ingredient in decorative paint product formulations under DENR Administrative Order 2013-24, or the Chemical Control Order (CCO) for lead and its compounds. The ban on such paints took effect on January 1, 2017.
Lead in paints used for industrial applications was eliminated after a longer transition period of six years from 2013 to 2019. The ban on lead-containing industrial paints became effective on January 1, 2020.
According to its label, RMC was manufactured by Supcon Chemical Enterprises Ltd. and distributed by RMCaluag Ent. Inc. (the country of manufacture was not indicated). For Yatibay, no information was given regarding its manufacturer, distributor, and country of production.
Lead in paint is a major source of childhood lead exposure, which can harm the brain, the central nervous system and other systems of the human body. Exposure to lead early in life can result in lower intelligence quotient (IQ), inattentiveness, impaired learning ability, conduct disorder, aggression and other behavioral problems. According to the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN), “lead exposure impacts on children continue throughout their life and have long-term impacts on work performance, and – on average – are related to decreased economic success.”
“There is no safe level of lead exposure,” stated the World Health Organization (WHO), which has listed lead among the “ten chemicals or groups of chemicals of major public health concern.”
To protect the health of children and other vulnerable populations, including women and workers, from lead exposure, the EcoWaste Coalition is campaigning for the strict enforcement of the country’s lead paint ban.
Consumers, in particular, are reminded to always insist on their legally protected rights to product information and product safety, and to seek out and only use adequately labeled paints with no added lead.