Environmental health groups are urging paint manufacturers, including those that export finished products to the Philippines, to obtain third-party Lead Safe Paint® Certification.
In a statement released in time for the celebration of the National Consumer Welfare Month and the International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, leaders of the EcoWaste Coalition, Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (IDIS) and Mother Earth Foundation (MEF) underscored the importance of ensuring consumer access to independently certified lead-safe paints.
While recognizing and commending the Philippine Association of Paint Manufacturers (PAPM) for their strong support to the country’s drive to remove lead in all types of paints, the groups would like to see more companies voluntarily securing Lead Safe Paint® Certification.
The Lead Safe Paint® Certification verifies and confirms that the lead content in a paint brand does not exceed 90 parts per million (ppm), the legal limit under the DENR A.O. 2013-24, or the Chemical Control Order (CCO) for Lead and Lead Compounds (this is also the limit recommended by the UN Model Law and Guidance for Regulating Lead Paint). To date, three companies from the Philippines (Boysen, Davies and Sycwin) and one each from Bangladesh (Elite) and Sri Lanka (Multilac) are participating in the program.
“A trustworthy third-party certification program is important as the self-claims of some products of being ‘lead-free’ may not always be correct,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition, citing the group’s recent discovery of 14 supposedly “lead-free” spray paints from abroad that were ironically found to contain 428 to 85,800 ppm of lead, way above the 90 ppm limit.
“Aside from household consumers, local government units and other institutional paint consumers need assurance that the product they are purchasing conforms to the CCO and will not pose lead-based paint hazards, especially to vulnerable populations,” said Atty. Mark Peñalver, Executive Director of IDIS based in Davao City, which in 2018 enacted an ordinance requiring the mandatory procurement of lead-safe paints in construction, maintenance, and renovation projects and other activities.
“Ensuring that only lead-safe paints are made available to consumers will help in preventing the release of lead from such products into the environment, and in promoting healthy bodies, homes and communities with reduced illnesses and deaths due to lead exposure,” said Sonia Mendoza, Chairman, MEF.
As of now, the list of duly certified Lead Safe Paint® products from the Philippines includes Boysen, Nation, Titan and Virtuoso Silk brands by Pacific Paints (Boysen), Philippines, Inc.; Davies brand by Davies Paints Philippines, Inc. and the PureCoat Premium, WeatherGard, Sycwin, PureCoat Advance, Minnesota, Delaware, Alabama, Kansas, Guilder and Illinois brands by Sycwin Coating & Wires, Inc.
Products that have passed the certification process are authorized to put the Lead Safe Paint® logo on the paint cans, providing consumers with a visual guide on which products on the store shelf meet the regulatory standard.
The Lead Safe Paint® Certification program was developed by IPEN in consultation with stakeholders such as the EcoWaste Coalition and the PAPM and its member companies. It is managed independently by the US-based SCS Global Services. Neither IPEN nor any of the consulted stakeholders is involved in the certification process or receives any type of revenue from it.
The EcoWaste Coalition, IDIS and MEF are participating organizations of IPEN.