Consumers warned anew vs spray paints with high lead content

A non-government organization working toward a zero waste and toxics-free society has again cautioned consumers against the purchase and use of spray paints containing lead, a chemical banned in paint production.

In a press statement, the EcoWaste Coalition disclosed that it has found more variants of Standard Aerosol Spray Paint laden with lead in excess of maximum 90 parts per million (ppm), the limit set under the DENR-issued Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds.

“We advise consumers to insist on their right to product safety and reject paints containing lead additives,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition. 

The group’s renewed call for consumer vigilance came on the heels of its latest discovery of five more lead-containing variants (deep yellow, medium yellow, gem green, leaf green and post green) of Standard Aerosol Spray Paints, which it procured last August 17 for P109 each from a branch of a chain store in Quezon City. 

X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) chemical screening conducted by the group found lead from 4,102 to 21,400 ppm in the analyzed samples of Standard Aerosol Spray Paints.

“We’re afraid that non-compliant spray paints are still sold by retailers outside Metro Manila,” warned Dizon, noting the group’s inability to conduct test buys in other regions due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions.

“Government regulators and consumers across the country must be vigilant against the unlawful trade of leaded paints,” he added.

The government through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last year banned the art yellow, light green and orange yellow variants of Standard Aerosol Spray Paint for exceeding the 90 ppm limit.  

As pointed out in FDA Advisory 2020-1585 banning 37 lead-containing spray paint products, “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 said advisory emphasized.

To put an end to the illegal sale of lead-containing spray paints, the EcoWaste Coalition appealed to concerned retailers to cease from selling non-compliant products and to return them to their suppliers for environmentally sound disposal.

“We urge paint distributors and sellers to only offer lead-safe paint products with a proper certificate of analysis,” said Dizon.

The manufacture, importation, distribution and sale of lead-containing paints has been rendered illegal with the issuance of DENR A.O. 2013-24, or the Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds, which phased out the use of lead in all paint categories. 

For promulgating this trailblazing hazardous chemical policy, the Philippine government bagged the coveted “Future Policy Award” (special award on lead paint) that was virtually received by DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu last 6 July 2021.

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