THE toxics watchdog group EcoWaste Coalition appealed to online shopping platforms to assist the government in enforcing the ban on lead-containing paints.
The group urged the online retail sector to ensure that only compliant paints with no lead added as pigment, drying catalyst or anti-corrosive agent are made available to shoppers.
“We appeal to concerned business leaders not to allow the use of their online shopping platforms to sell paint products containing lead, a brain damaging chemical toxicant,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner of EcoWaste Coalition.
The group made the appeal after finding product advertisements in online marketplace for imported spray paints that are suspected to contain lead.
The group had earlier discovered dangerously high concentrations of lead in some spray paints being sold for consumer or general use in various retail stores.
“We’ve found at least five brands of lead-containing spray paints being advertised in two of the most popular online shopping hubs in the country,” Dizon added. “This is blatantly illegal and must be discontinued at once.”
Dizon cited the ban on the use of lead in the production of paints under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Administrative Order 2013-24, or the Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds.
The DENR regulation bans lead in excess of 90 parts per million (ppm) in paints or similar surface coatings. Lead-containing architectural, household and decorative paints were phased out on December 31, 2016. The phase-out of lead-containing industrial paints followed on December 31, 2019.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “children are particularly vulnerable to the neurotoxic effects of lead, and even relatively low levels of exposure can cause serious and in some cases irreversible neurological damage.”
Among the major sources of children’s exposure to lead are lead-based paints.
The WHO said there is no safe level of human lead exposure, and no threshold level below which lead causes no injury to the developing human brain.
Specific health effects of lead exposure in children include learning disabilities, lower intelligence quotient, speech and language difficulties, hearing loss, attention deficit disorder, slow physical growth and behavioral problems.
“Lead is known to cross the placenta and harm the developing fetus in the womb,” the group said, while “the health of workers is put at risk when they ingest lead-containing dust on their hands, cigarettes, food or beverage, or if they breathe lead dust during unsafe work activities such as sanding or scraping paint.”