Pro-health and environmental groups from the Philippines are taking part in a global campaign to protect children and other vulnerable groups from the adverse effects of lead poisoning, particularly from lead paint.

On the occasion of the International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (ILPPW) on October 24-30, the EcoWaste Coalition, Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (IDIS), and Mother Earth Foundation (MEF) are joining forces to amplify the call for heightened vigilance against lead-containing paints and for the sustained promotion and strict enforcement of the award-winning DENR A.O. 2013-24, or the Chemical Control Order (CCO) for Lead and Lead Compounds. 

It will be recalled that the Philippines last June 2021 bagged the Future Policy Award (lead in paint category) from the World Future Council for being the first country in Southeast Asia to successfully implement legislation toward lead-safe paint through the said CCO.

The annual ILPPW seeks to draw attention to the health impacts of lead exposure, highlight efforts by countries and partners to prevent childhood lead exposure, and accelerate efforts to phase out the use of lead in paint.  The ILPPW is led by the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint, which includes the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Philippine Association of Paint Manufacturers, Pacific Paint (Boysen), Philippines, Inc., and the EcoWaste Coalition among its partners from the government, industry and civil society sectors.

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Davao City-based IDIS will conduct a webinar to strengthen awareness and compliance to Ordinance No. 0461-18 requiring the use of lead-safe paints in construction, maintenance, and renovation projects in the city with Mayor Sara Duterte and Councilor Pilar Braga (lead author of the ordinance) as speakers.  A Facebook Live discussion on preventing lead exposure is also planned with environmental health scientist Dr. Geminn Louis Apostol and chemical safety campaigner Thony Dizon as discussants.

MEF will reach out to the City Government of San Fernando, Pampanga, the recipient of 2021 Most Improved Local Government Unit in Environmental Health Services, to encourage the administration of Mayor Edwin Santiago to enact a lead-safe paint procurement ordinance similar to what Davao City and Quezon City did in line with the DENR A.O. 2013-24 and DILG Memorandum Circular 2018-26 titled “Mandatory Use of Lead-Safe Paints by LGUs.”

In Quezon City, the EcoWaste Coalition will unveil a colorful mural at San Antonio Elementary School to promote the use of lead-safe paints for healthy minds and bodies in accordance with Quezon City Ordinance No. 2739, series of 2018 with former Councilor Elizabeth Delarmente (lead author of the ordinance) and school principal Antonio Miranda officiating.

The group will also release a new report on the lead content of industrial paints sold locally.  The report, co-published with the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN), will provide the first publicly available data on the lead concentrations of paints used for automotive, marine, road marking, and other applications.  During the week of action, the group will further disseminate toxic alerts on new spray paints for general use that it recently purchased from retail stores and online dealers and subsequently found to contain high levels of lead.

Additionally, the EcoWaste Coalition will co-sponsor with IPEN, Casa Cem-Mexico, and the Center for Public Health and Environmental Development-Nepal a webinar on “Catalyzing the Global Phase-Out of Lead Paints.”  This webinar will discuss how listing lead pigments under the Rotterdam Convention will advance global lead paint elimination; help countries adapt and enforce lead paint control regulations; and make exporting countries assume major responsibilities for the control of lead pigments and the lead paints that contain them.

The EcoWaste Coalition, IDIS, and MEF are among the 47 participating organizations of IPEN from 35 countries that are taking part in the 2021 ILPPW.

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