22 October 2017

Groups Cite Benefits of Phasing Out Leaded Paints in the Philippines


Environmental, health and labor groups cited the country’s ongoing effort to phase out lead, a toxic chemical, in paint, as a step in the right direction that will benefit millions of Filipino children, mothers and workers today and the future generations. 

The groups lauded the government’s decision to phase out leaded paints as the International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action is commemorated from October 22 to 28 to raise awareness and promote action to address the human health effects of lead exposure, particularly for children. The Week of Action is spearheaded by the United Nations Environment and the World Health Organization (WHO)                

“While many developing countries have yet to enact mandatory lead paint standards and regulations, our country took a bold decision to phase out lead in paints with the primary goal of protecting vulnerable populations, particularly the children, women of child-bearing age and the workers,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Working hand in hand, government, industry and civil society leaders took part in several consultative and technical meetings that paved the way to the adoption of a groundbreaking regulation in the form of a Chemical Control Order (CCO),” he added.

The CCO for lead and lead compounds released in 2013 by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) provides the road map to the country’s transition to paints without lead additives.

The CCO stipulates for a three-year phase-out schedule from 2013 to 2016 for lead-containing architectural, decorative and household (ADH) paints, and a six-year phase-out period (2013-2019) for lead-containing industrial paints.  It also sets a total lead content limit of 90 parts per million (ppm), the world’s strictest regulatory standard for lead in paint.

The three-year phase-out period for ADH paints provided paint manufacturers, including small- and medium-sized enterprises, to find suitable replacements to lead used to enhance color, make drying faster or reduce corrosion on metal surfaces. 

“The phase-out of leaded paints is good news for our children’s brains as childhood lead exposure is known to harm the brain causing reduced intelligence and mental retardation,” said Ines Fernandez, Founder of Arugaan, a mother-led movement promoting breastfeeding and child and maternal health.

For her part, Dr. Angelina Galang, President of Green Convergence, said: "The phase-out of leaded paints will protect our children from the detrimental effects of lead, which can harm them at much lower doses.  Health authorities have concluded there is no known level of lead exposure deemed safe for children."  

“Replacing lead additives in the production of paints with safe alternatives will minimize occupational exposures to lead. Workers in paint manufacturing, construction, painting, renovation, demolition and related sectors will benefit from a toxic-free working environment that is safe from lead and other hazardous substances,” said Allan Tanjusay, Spokesperson, Associated Labor Unions – Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP).

Eliminating lead paint now is more cost-effective than remediating lead-contaminated homes, schools and other facilities used by children later, the groups said.

In US, as per estimate by the Environmental Protection Agency the costs for lead paint abatement range from $8 to $15 per square foot, and a typical house will require a minimum of $10,000 to treat.

Above all, removing lead in paint will prevent dust and soil from being contaminated by lead from chipping or deteriorating lead painted surfaces that can be ingested or inhaled by children, the groups added. 

Lead, according to WHO, is especially dangerous to children's developing brains, and causes reduced intelligence quotient (IQ) and attention span, impaired learning ability, and increased risk of behavioral problems. 

“Lead paint is a serious threat to the long-term health of our children. WHO calls on all countries to phase out lead paint by 2020 to protect the health of this and future generations,” said Dr. Maria Neira Director of the Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health for the WHO.

To encourage further industry compliance to the phase-out of lead paint, the EcoWaste Coalition on Monday will hold an event to mark the country’s achievement so far in removing lead in AHD paints.

The group will release the findings of its latest study in collaboration with IPEN (a global NGO network for a toxics-free future) showing a significant reduction in the number of leaded solvent-based AHD paints sold in the market.


-end-

Reference:

http://server2.denr.gov.ph/uploads/rmdd/dao-2013-24.pdf



21 October 2017

Many Toys Sold in Cebu Improperly Labeled (Group Pushes Proper Toy Labeling to Ensure Children’s Safety)

 Inadequately labeled toys bought in Cebu City
 Toy samples with high lead content
 Not properly labeled mini grow-in-water toys
Toy ukuleles decorated with lead-containing paints

As the observance of the Consumer Welfare Month draws to a close next week, a non-profit watch group called attention to toys sold in Cebu that lack the required product labeling information.

“We bought assorted toys from various retail outlets in Cebu and Lapu-Lapu Cities to check on their compliance with the required labeling information, which is very important to guide consumers on picking the right toy for a child that will not pose risk to her or his health and safety,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

The toy products, costing P25 to P200 each, were obtained by the group from toy and souvenir stores in Cebu and Lapu-Lapu Cities on September 28 to 29, 2017.

The toys were brought to the office of the EcoWaste Coalition in Quezon City for product label examination and for heavy metal screening using an X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) chemical analyzer.  

Out of 79 toy samples, only three were found to be compliant with the mandatory toy labeling information required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency that oversees the product notification scheme for toy and childcare articles (TCCas).

As per FDA Circular 2014-023, duly notified TCCAs should contain the following product labeling labeling information: license to operate (LTO) number, age grade, cautionary statements/ warnings, instructional literature, item/ model/ stock keeping unit (SKU) number, and manufacturer’s marking, including the complete name and address of the manufacturer or distributor.

Of the 79 toy samples, 15 were found to contain lead, a toxic chemical that can have serious effects for the health of children, above the regulatory limit of 90 parts per million (ppm).

High lead concentrations were detected on unlabeled toy ukuleles and fridge magnet toys.  The paint coating of a mango-shape toy ukulele had 12,300 ppm of lead, while the paint coating of a fridge magnet toy had 7,092 ppm of lead.   

The group also found three mini grow-in-water toys, which are not properly labeled and which are dangerous if swallowed by children.

“The use of lead-containing paints to decorate toys is a brazen violation of the country’s lead paint regulation,” Dizon said.

DENR Administrative Order 2013-24, or the Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds, strictly prohibits the use of lead paint in the production of toys, among other things.

Improperly labeled toys should not be offered for sale in the market if only Republic Act 10620, or the Toy and Game Safety Labeling Act of 2013, is enforced, the EcoWaste Coalition said.

Under the said law, toy products “not in compliance with the requirements of this Act shall be considered a misbranded or banned hazardous substance… and withdrawn from the market.”
   
R.A. 10620 states that non-compliant toys and games “shall be withdrawn from the market at the expense of the manufacturer or importer and shall not be allowed to be distributed, sold or offered for sale in the Philippines.”

Approved in September 2013, R.A. 10620 requires the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to “regularly publish every six months the list of all manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers who failed to comply with the requirements” of this law.

It further requires the Department of Health (DOH) to “publish every six months the list of all misbranded or banned hazardous substances the sale, offer for sale and distribution of which shall not be allowed” under R.A. 10620.

To date, the DTI and DOH have yet to promulgate the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of R.A. 10620.

“We hope concerned groups in Cebu and elsewhere will join us in demanding the promulgation of R.A. 10620’s IRR for the health and safety of our children as toy consumers,” Dizon said.

The EcoWaste Coalition and Laban Konsyumer, Inc., a consumer protection group,  have been asking the authorities to release the much-delayed IRR toward the full enforcement of R.A. 10620.

-end-

Reference:

http://www.lawphil.net/statute s/repacts/ra2013/ra_10620_ 2013.html

16 October 2017

Many Toys Sold in Davao Improperly Labeled (Group Pushes Proper Toy Labeling to Ensure Children’s Safety)

 Inadequately labeled toys bought in Davao City

Toy samples with high lead content

Davao City/Quezon City.  As the observance of the Consumer Welfare Month gets underway, a non-profit watch group drew attention to toys sold in Davao City that lack the required product labeling information.

“We have bought assorted toys from various retail outlets in Davao City to check on their compliance with the required labeling information, which is very important to guide consumers on picking the right toy for a child that will not pose risk to her or his health and safety,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

The toy products, costing P15 to P265 each, were obtained by the group from various retail stores in Uyanguren, Davao City on September 22 to 24, 2017.

The toys were brought to the office of the EcoWaste Coalition in Quezon City for product label examination and for heavy metal screening using an X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) chemical analyzer.  

Out of 71 toy samples, only three were found to be compliant with the mandatory toy labeling information required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency that oversees the product notification scheme for toy and childcare articles (TCCAs).

As per FDA Circular 2014-023, duly notified TCCAs should contain the following product labeling labeling information: license to operate (LTO) number, age grade, cautionary statements/ warnings, instructional literature, item/ model/ stock keeping unit (SKU) number, and manufacturer’s marking, including the complete name and address of the manufacturer or distributor.

Five of the toy samples indicated valid LTO numbers on the labels as verified through the FDA website, the group noted.

Of the 71 toy samples, 18 were found to contain lead, a toxic chemical that can have serious effects for the health of children, above the regulatory limit of 90 parts per million (ppm).

High lead concentrations up to 8,105 ppm were detected on the paint coatings of five turumpo, a popular outdoor game among boys.  The wooden whipping tops have zero labeling information.

“The use of lead-containing paints to decorate turumpo and other toys is a brazen violation of the country’s lead paint regulation,” Dizon said.

DENR Administrative Order 2013-24, or the Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds, strictly prohibits the use of lead paint in the production of toys, among other things.

Improperly labeled toys should not be offered for sale in the market if only Republic Act 10620, or the Toy and Game Safety Labeling Act of 2013, is enforced, the EcoWaste Coalition said.

Under the said law, toy products “not in compliance with the requirements of this Act shall be considered a misbranded or banned hazardous substance… and withdrawn from the market.”
   
R.A. 10620 states that non-compliant toys and games “shall be withdrawn from the market at the expense of the manufacturer or importer and shall not be allowed to be distributed, sold or offered for sale in the Philippines.”

Approved in September 2013, R.A. 10620 requires the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to “regularly publish every six months the list of all manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers who failed to comply with the requirements” of this law.

It further requires the Department of Health (DOH) to “publish every six months the list of all misbranded or banned hazardous substances the sale, offer for sale and distribution of which shall not be allowed” under R.A. 10620.

To date, the DTI and DOH have yet to promulgate the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of R.A. 10620.

“We hope concerned groups in Davao and elsewhere will join us in demanding the promulgation of R.A. 10620’s IRR for the health and safety of our children as toy consumers,” Dizon said.

The EcoWaste Coalition and Laban Konsyumer, Inc., a consumer protection group, have been asking the authorities to release the much-delayed IRR toward the full enforcement of R.A. 10620.

-end-

Reference:

http://www.lawphil.net/statute s/repacts/ra2013/ra_10620_ 2013.html

07 October 2017

Urban Poor Residents Get their Hands Dirty to Grow Organic Food , Keep Communities Clean







Over 150 urban poor residents from Camarin, Caloocan City literally got their hands dirty today for a solution-focused event to combat malnutrition and pollution.   

To mark the Green Action Week (GAW) on October 2 to 8, the EcoWaste Coalition in collaboration with Buklod Tao and the Urban Poor Associates (UPA) organized a hands-on skillshare in San Mateo, Rizal on how to raise organic vegetables through container gardening and how to turn biodegradable discards into compost.  


GAW is a global campaign promoting sustainable consumption initiated by the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, 
Sweden’s oldest and largest environmental organization and a partner of the EcoWaste Coalition.

“We have gathered today for a face-to-face learning with Buklod Tao community leaders on organic farming and composting that can help urban poor families improve nutritional intake as well as prevent trash from stinking,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.  


Dizon cited government data indicating high chronic malnutrition rate at over 25% in 2015 among children from age 0 to 2 that is aggravated by the unchecked consumption of foods high in trans fat, sugar and salt.  


“The lack of physical space should not discourage urban poor households from organically growing basic vegetables using repurposed containers such as juice packs, tin cans and plastic bottles, which can be placed in front of a house, by the rooftop or arranged as hanging planters,” he said.


“Venturing into organic food gardening will also encourage our households to segregate their discards at source and turn fruit and vegetable peelings and other biodegradables into compost,” added Noli Abinales, adviser, Buklod Tao, a people’s organization advocating for an environmentally-responsible and climate-resilient community.


“Composting is a key solution to the poor waste management in many communities, which can lead to a host of environmental and health problems such as the spread of diseases, flooding and global warming,” he said.


Abinales noted that Metro Manila generates 9,499 tons of waste per day consisting of biodegradable 
(44.32%), recyclable (31.64%), residuals (23.68) and special (0.36%) wastes as per waste characterization and analysis by the Metro Manila Development Authority.

UPA community leader Luz Sudueste from 
Caloocan City expressed her hope that similar skillshares will  be held in all urban poor communities with support from national and local authorities and civil society groups.

“Organic food gardening and composting is beneficial for our families and our environment.  We hope that similar trainings will be conducted in urban poor communities nationwide to help address the people’s need for nutritious food and for better waste management and sanitation,” she said.   


The participants brought home with them vegetable saplings planted on compost-enriched soil in a recycled pot container made out of juice packs courtesy of Buklod Tao.


The participants came from various groups including the Camarin Balikatan Community Association, Dagat-Dagatan Camarin Homeowners’ Association, Epiphany of the Lord Credit Cooperative, Kapatiran ng mga Maralita sa Camarin, Mabini-Lapu-Lapu Neighborhood Association, Samahan ng mga Responsableng Anak ng Nayon, and the San Vicente Ferrer Urban Coordinating Development Association.


-end-  

Go organic for a greener planet!

Does it matter if it´s organic or not? The short answer is yes, it does. It makes a difference for you, your children, the bees, the farmers, the trees and the rivers. It makes an important difference to our planet. Organic food and farming for all is the Green Action Week theme for 2013-2017.
5 reasons to choose organic food

1. Toxic free!

Organic farming does not use agrochemicals like pesticides as these can be harmful for the environment and human health. Pesticides pose a risk to the health of farming families and people working on farms, who are directly exposed. But also to those living nearby who may be exposed to spray drift, polluted water, soil or waste from the farms. Research shows that eating organic food reduces exposure to hazardous pesticides.

2. More birds, plants and bees!                                                                  

Biodiversity is essential to make nature work. Did you know that the threat to biodiversity is as acute as the climate threat? Organic farmers plant a wide variety of crops rather than just one big field of the same. This and other organic methods increase the range of species of natural plants, birds, animals and insects in the soil and around the farm.

3. Knowledge instead of chemicals!

We need to change the way we produce and consume food. Studies show that solutions for the future can be found in organic agriculture. Instead of using agrochemicals organic farmers use knowledge. They use a greater diversity of crops and varieties – often indigenous. This generally gives better protection against drought and diseases, thus reducing risks for the farmer. In many parts of the world, the production methods used also increase the yields.

4. More jobs and higher incomes!

Organic farming is often more diversified and creates more jobs. Often, the production costs for the farmers are lower and profits higher when they no longer have to buy chemical fertilizers, pesticides and seeds.

5. Help organic farming grow!

Over 70% of the world’s poor live in rural areas and most of them are involved in farming. The majority of these small scale farmers already grow organic or close to. Buying organic products leads to increased production and incomes, improved local food security and a cleaner and greener environment.

http://greenactionweek.org/go-organic-for-a-greener-planet/

06 October 2017

Group Alerts the Public as Another Water Color Set Is Banned due to High Lead Content

Artex Fine Water Colors, MPC Classique Water Colors and Xiao Yiren Water Colors banned 
by the Food and Drug Administration due to high lead content.

MPC Classique Water Colors contains lead above 90 parts per million (ppm) as per laboratory analysis by the FDA.

The EcoWaste Coalition, a non-profit environmental health group, urged the public to watch out for another art coloring product laden with lead, a health-damaging chemical.  

The group’s advice came on the heels of a new public health warning issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on September 29, 2017 against MPC Classique Water Colors distributed by Multiline Products Corp.

According to FDA Advisory No. 2017-272, the said water color set was found to contain lead beyond the allowable limit of not more than 90 parts per million (ppm).

“We advise consumers to pay attention to FDA’s health warning.  Kids in particular should stay away from this unsafe art material to avoid being exposed to a chemical that is known to harm a child’s developing brain,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), at lower levels of exposure that cause no obvious symptoms, and that previously were considered safe, lead is now known to produce a spectrum of injury across multiple body systems.” 

“In particular lead can affect children’s brain development resulting in reduced intelligence quotient (IQ), behavioral changes such as reduced attention span and increased antisocial behavior, and reduced educational attainment,” the WHO said.

“Parents should not allow their children to come into contact with lead, especially from a preventable source like school supplies, which, in the first place, should be totally safe from lead and other hazardous substances,” Dizon said.

The group reminded parents “there is no known level of lead exposure that is considered safe” as per the WHO. 

The group on Thursday went to Divisoria, Manila to check if the banned water color set has been taken off the store shelves following the FDA Advisory.   

“We managed to buy MPC Classique Water Colors from a store selling school supplies, indicating the need to publicize further and exact compliance to the FDA Advisory ,” reported Dizon.

“It’s important the product is withdrawn from wholesalers and retailers without delay by the company that placed the product on the market,” he said.   

This is the third time that that the FDA has banned water coloring materials since 2014.

The FDA banned Artex Fine Water Colors in 2014, upon notification by the EcoWaste Coalition, due to its high lead content reaching up to 5,089 ppm as per the agency's laboratory analysis.

The graphic designs of Artex Fine Water Colors and MPC Classique Water Colors bear some striking similarities, the group noted.

On August 31 this year, the FDA banned Xiao Yiren Water Color as well as Ultra Colours Jumbo Crayons for containing lead above the regulatory limit of 90 ppm.

-end-


Reference:

http://www.fda.gov.ph/advisori es-2/cosmetic-2/466281-fda-adv isory-2017-272

http://www.fda.gov.ph/advisori es-2/cosmetic-2/458304-fda-adv isory-no-2017-260

http://www.fda.gov.ph/advisori es-2/cosmetic-2/162436-fda-adv isory-2014-044