24 April 2018

Filipino Campaigner for Lead Safe Paint Receives Goldman Environmental Prize (PH Success in Phasing Out Lead-Containing Paints Gets the Spotlight)


San Francisco, USA/Manila, Philippines. 23/24 April 2018 — The US-based Goldman Environmental Foundation today announced seven recipients of the 2018 Goldman Environmental Prize, the world’s largest award for grassroots environmental activists.

Among those honored at a huge ceremony held in the San Francisco Opera House was Manny Calonzo, former president of the EcoWaste Coalition and adviser of the Global Lead Paint Elimination Campaign of IPEN (an international NGO network for a toxics-free future). 

Calonzo was selected by an international jury from confidential nominations for spearheading a fruitful advocacy campaign banning the production, sale and use of paints containing lead, a cumulative poison targeting the brain and the central nervous system.

Calonzo and the EcoWaste-IPEN team conducted studies that generated data on lead content of solvent-based decorative paints sold in the Philippines; organized awareness-raising activities on lead poisoning prevention; built links and alliances with the paint industry and other stakeholders; pushed for mandatory lead paint standard and regulation; and promoted the world's first  third-party Lead Safe Paint Certification program. 

The other Goldman Environmental Prize winners this year are Francia Marquez from Colombia, Claire Nouvian from France, Makoma Lekalakala and Liz McDaid from South Africa, Leeanne Walters from USA, and Khanh Nguy Thi from Vietnam.  The prize was established in 1989 by San Francisco civic leaders and philanthropists Richard and Rhoda Goldman.

Calonzo dedicated the award to Filipino children and youth, including those yet to be born, who deserve to grow and develop in a pollution-free environment that will not expose them to lead in paint and dust, which can result in life-long decrease in intelligence and other adverse health impacts.

“To protect and foster the brains and bodies of our children and youth, and improve the safety of their living, learning and playing environments, the Philippines took the crucial decision to ban lead-containing paints, a major source of childhood lead exposure,” Calonzo told the cheering crowd of 3,000 people.

“By phasing out lead-containing decorative paints in 2016 and lead-containing paints for industrial uses by 2019, we hope to achieve a lead safe paint market by 2020 and ensure a lead safe environment for all, especially for children and babies still growing in the womb,” he emphasized.

Reflecting the collaborative nature of the campaign, Calonzo acknowledged the constructive alliances and relationships forged among partners from the government, industry, civil society, health sector and the academia.  “With key stakeholders on board and working together, and with support from top environment and health officials, we carried out a spirited campaign to eliminate lead paint, an entirely preventable source of lead exposure,” he said.

“This recognition of our collective success in the Philippines, I hope, will inspire global efforts to ban lead paints, particularly in developing countries, at a much faster tempo.  While a few countries have in recent years adopted binding lead paint laws and regulations, much work remains to adequately address this serious human health hazard,” he said.   

“No nation in which lead paints are still produced and consumed can claim to have made real progress in ensuring children’s health and safety,” he pointed out.

Calonzo commended the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Philippine Association of Paint Manufacturers, EcoWaste Coalition, IPEN and the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint for their contributions to the successful campaign.

He specifically recognized Pacific Paint (Boysen) Philippines. Inc. and Davies Paints Philippines for being the first two companies in the world to earn the Lead Safe Paint® mark under a new third-party certification program. Another Philippine paint company, Sycwin Coatings and Wires Inc., is undergoing lead content verification under this program.  

It will be recalled that the groundbreaking Chemical Control Order on Lead and Lead Compounds (CCO) issued by the DENR in 2013  paved the way for the eventual phase-out in December 2016 of lead-containing architectural, household and decorative paints following a three-year phase-out period.  The same regulation provides for the phase out in 2019 of lead-containing paints for industrial applications after a six-year transition period

Under the Duterte administration, supplemental directives were issued in 2017 and 2018 by the Department of Education, Department of Social Welfare and Development, and the Department of Interior and Local Government to mainstream the mandatory procurement and use of lead safe paints, the EcoWaste Coalition noted.

“The continuing collaboration by the government, industry and civil society, backed by informed and vigilant paint consumers,  is crucial in ensuring full compliance to the CCO goals and targets.  As children's lives do matter, we need to keep the environment safe from lead, mercury and other pollutants that can impede childhood growth and development and negatively affect their future,” Calonzo said.   

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More information about lead and lead in paint:

An environmental poison: The hazards of lead paint have been well-documented and regulated in developed nations for more than 40 years. But lead paint remains a major environmental health issue in developing countries—including the Philippines. Studies conducted in the early 2000s revealed startlingly high levels of lead in decorative paint in more than 30 developing countries—showing lead levels routinely above 600 parts per million (ppm), and often higher than 10,000 ppm. The US allows lead levels of no more than 90 ppm.

Traditionally, lead is added to paint to give it color, help it dry faster, make it more opaque, and protect it from corrosion. High quality, cost-effective alternatives to lead ingredients exist and are used in developed countries. Unlike many environmental health issues, the science on lead poisoning is indisputable. Studies have shown that the presence of lead paint on home interiors and exteriors is strongly linked to lead levels in children’s blood. Over time, paint on surfaces will chip and deteriorate, which releases lead into the dust and soil around homes, schools, and other locations. Children playing in these environments get the soil or dust on their hands and ingest it through normal hand-to-mouth contact.

Lead is a potent neurotoxin; even low levels of lead exposure can impair children’s cognitive function. Childhood lead poisoning can have lifelong health impacts, including learning disabilities, reduced IQ, anemia, and disorders in physical, visual, spatial, and language skills.

23 April 2018

Goldman Environmental Prize Winner Manny Calonzo: Painting a Brighter Future for Our Children with Lead Safe Paint

(Stockholm, Sweden): The 2018 Goldman Environmental Prize award to Manny Calonzo for his coalition efforts to eliminate lead paint in the Philippines brings attention to the ongoing threat of lead paint exposure to children in most of the developing world. Lead paint, the greatest single cause of childhood lead exposure globally, can cause irreversible neurological damage.  Mr. Calonzo’s work to forge partnerships with the public, NGOs, health ministers and paint manufacturers was a winning model in the Philippines and is inspiring similar campaigns to eliminate lead paint throughout the world.

“Together with allies from the public, industry and government, we proved we can rid ourselves of a damaging source of toxic pollution for the good of children in the Philippines. I hope this prize will help reduce lead exposure to children across the planet and paint a healthier future,” said Mr. Calonzo.

A long time campaigner for environmental health, Mr. Calonzo, former president and advisor of the EcoWaste Coalition [1] in the Philippines and leader in IPEN [2]’s global Lead Paint Elimination Campaign, was instrumental in securing the adoption of the first national law banning lead paint production, use and sale in the Philippines. This new law, one of the world’s most protective, safeguards nearly 12 million young children from exposure to lead. Lead exposure, even at the smallest amount, can cause lifelong, untreatable harm [3], including brain damage, harming a child’s ability to learn, read, write, and focus in class and participate in society.

“Manny’s well-deserved Goldman Prize is a cause for celebration for all those who care about children’s health,” said Sara Brosché, PhD., IPEN’s Lead Paint Elimination Campaign Manager. “The prize will bring international attention to lead paint’s profound threat to the children of the world and shines a light on Manny’s successful coalition-building campaign model. This strategy was key to the ban in the Philippines and is being used today by NGOs in more than 40 countries, contributing to legally binding laws and mandatory paint standards in 17 countries.”

“It is clear that paint companies won’t become lead-free by themselves and governments will not take action without coordinated political and market pressure,” said Gilbert Kuepouo, PhD., Coordinator of Centre de Recherche et d’Education pour le Développement (CREPD), who was instrumental in achieving a new lead paint law in Cameroon in 2017. “As an advisor to IPEN’s global campaign, Manny travels to other regions, and works with and inspires other public interest organizations and the private sector to help build coalitions to end lead paint production, sales and use.”

“Manny Calonzo’s campaign to ban lead paint in the Philippines and his development of a third-party certification system for lead-free paint serve as powerful models for how to engage diverse stakeholders to effect meaningful policy change,” said Michael Sutton, Executive Director of the Goldman Environmental Foundation, referring to the world’s first paint certification program, Lead Safe Paint [4]®, launched by IPEN in 2015 and harnessed by Calonzo to certify 85% of the paint market in the Philippines. “Manny’s work also serves as a great example for activists in other developing countries who are struggling to address the problem of lead contamination. Thanks to Manny’s work, in partnership with a broad coalition across industries, millions of Filipino children will be spared the profound dangers of lead exposure.”

The Global Campaign to Eliminate Lead Paint “Lead contamination is a preventable scourge on children’s health, their brain development and their future,” said Dr. Leonardo Trasande [5], an internationally renowned expert on children’s health who estimates the total cumulative cost burden of childhood lead exposure in low- and middle-income countries to be $977 billion international
dollars per year [6].

IPEN’s global campaign to eliminate lead paint began in 2008 after Toxics Link [7], an environmental health NGO in India, found that lead paint was widely sold to the public in India. Thereafter, the IPEN global network arranged paint studies in several countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. Shockingly, in every country sampled, most of the solvent-based, decorative enamel paints tested had hazardously high lead content.

Ravi Agarwal, founder of Toxics Link and a founding member of IPEN, states, “This prestigious award to Manny represents a growing awareness of the need for action to protect the children of the world today for our future tomorrow from lead and other toxic chemical threats.”

Lead-based paint contaminating household dust in older buildings is the leading cause of lead contamination in the US and throughout the world.  Recent research in The Lancet [8]concluded that 412,000 cardiovascular deaths a year in the US are attributable to lead contamination in adults, ten times higher than previous estimates. Experts anticipate higher impacts in the developing world, where protections are lacking and tropical environs cause paint to erode more quickly.

IPEN’s most recent global lead paint report [9], the largest such report to date, revealed that, of 54 countries, 50 have house paints on the market that contain lead. Forty percent had extremely high levels in more than a quarter of paints analyzed. (An interactive [10] map illustrating lead in paint on the market in 45 countries can be viewed here [10].)

In the past ten years local health and environment NGOs have successfully led campaigns and achieved effective, legally-binding laws and mandatory paint standards in 17 countries.

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Goldman Environmental Prize Honors Seven Environmental Heroes Award recognizes activists from Colombia, France, Vietnam, the Philippines, South Africa, and the United States


SAN FRANCISCO, April 23, 2018 — The Goldman Environmental Foundation today announced seven recipients of the 2018 Goldman Environmental Prize, the world’s largest award for grassroots environmental activists.

Awarded annually to environmental heroes from each of the world’s six inhabited continental regions, the Goldman Environmental Prize recognizes grassroots activists for significant achievements to protect the environment.

The winners will be awarded the Prize at an invitation-only ceremony today at 5:30 pm PDT at the San Francisco Opera House (this event will be live streamed online at www.goldmanprize.org/ceremony). A ceremony at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C., will follow on Wednesday, April 25, at 7:30 pm EDT.

This year’s winners are:

FRANCIA MÁRQUEZ, Colombia

A formidable leader of the Afro-Colombian community, Francia Márquez pressured the Colombian government and organized the women of La Toma, in the Cauca region, to stop illegal gold mining on their ancestral land.

CLAIRE NOUVIAN, France

A tireless defender of the oceans and marine life, Claire Nouvian led a focused, data-driven advocacy campaign against the destructive fishing practice of deep-sea bottom trawling. Her work yielded French support for a ban on the practice, securing an EU-wide ban.

MAKOMA LEKALAKALA & LIZ MCDAID, South Africa

As grassroots activists, Makoma Lekalakala and Liz McDaid built a broad coalition to stop South Africa’s massive nuclear deal with Russia. Their work resulted in a landmark legal victory against the secret $76 billion deal, protecting South Africa from lifetimes of nuclear waste.

MANNY CALONZO, the Philippines

Manny Calonzo spearheaded an advocacy campaign that persuaded the Philippine government to enact a national ban on the production, use, and sale of lead paint. His efforts have protected millions of Filipino kids from lead poisoning.

LEEANNE WALTERS, United States

LeeAnne Walters led a citizens’ movement that tested the tap water in Flint, Michigan, and exposed the Flint water crisis, compelling the local, state, and federal governments to take action to ensure access to clean drinking water.

KHANH NGUY THI, Vietnam

Khanh Nguy Thi used scientific research and engaged Vietnamese state agencies to advocate for sustainable long-term energy projections and reduction in coal power dependency in Vietnam. Her efforts helped eliminate 115 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions from Vietnam annually.

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About the Goldman Environmental Prize

The Goldman Environmental Prize was established in 1989 by late San Francisco civic leaders and philanthropists Richard and Rhoda Goldman. Prize winners are selected by an international jury from confidential nominations submitted by a worldwide network of environmental organizations and individuals.

Groups Nudge Senate to Prioritize Passage of Safe and Non-Hazardous Children’s Products Act

Laban Konsyumer, Inc., a consumer protection group, and the EcoWaste Coalition, an environmental health group, have jointly asked the Senate to expedite the approval of a crucial bill that will protect children from being harmed by toxic substances in products produced and marketed for their use.

Through a letter sent last week to Senate President Koko Pimentel and Senator JV Ejercito, the two groups prodded the lawmakers to fast track the approval of Senate Bill 1084, or the proposed Safe and Non-Toxic Children’s Products Act, for the sake of children’s health and safety.

“While its counterpart bill at the House of Representatives was unanimously approved in December 2017, Senate Bill 1084, as per Senate records, has not progressed at all.  We request the Senate leadership to get the legislative process moving with the aim of getting this important bill enacted this year,” said Atty. Vic Dimagiba, President, Laban Konsyumer, Inc.  

Senate Bill  1084 seeks to regulate the manufacture, importation, distribution and sale of children’s toys, school supplies, childcare articles and other related products containing toxic chemicals beyond the permissible limits. 

It was introduced by Ejercito on August 25, 2016, read on First Reading on August 30 2016 and subsequently referred to the Committee on Health and Demography (the primary committee) chaired by Ejercito himself.

Among the chemicals of concern initially targeted under the said bill are heavy metals such as antimony, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead and mercury, phthalates and Bisphenol A.

On the other hand, the House of Representatives approved last December 17 House Bill 6702, or the proposed Safe and Non-Hazardous Children’s Products Act,  which was co-introduced by 35 legislators from different political parties and party list groups.

“As Senate Bill 1084 seeks to uphold the health of all children who are most susceptible to the detrimental effects of chemical exposures, we believe our good senators should put the passage of this bill on top of their priority list,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.  

"The approval of the bill, we hope, will pave the way for stringent controls that will ensure children's products sold in the country do not pose health risks to their users and to the environment, too," he added.     
According to Laban Konsyumer, Inc. and the EcoWaste Coalition, the enactment of the consolidated Senate and House Bills and its approval by President Rodrigo Duterte may serve as the most enduring legacy of the 17th Congress in terms of protecting kids from hazardous substances hiding in everyday children’s products.

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Reference:

Link to H.B. No. 6702:
http://congress.gov.ph/ legisdocs/first_17/CR00487.pdf

Link to S.B. No. 1084:
http://senate.gov.ph/lis/bill_ res.aspx?congress=17&q=SBN- 1084

21 April 2018

EcoWaste Coalition, Samahang Sining at Kultura ng Pilipinas, Advocates for Environmental and Social Justice


Free the Earth of plastic pollution! – green groups

A day before the world celebrate this year’s Earth Day, themed “End Plastic Pollution”, Samahang Sining at Kultura ng Pilipinas (SSKPil),  Advocates for Environmental and Social Justice (AESJ) and zero waste advocacy network EcoWaste Coalition joined the rest of the world in calling for an end to plastic pollution.

“It is high time that we free the earth of plastic pollution!” cried the groups during a local two-day Earth Day celebration in Pandacan, Manila, dubbed the Good Earth Day Festival, which was organized by SSKPil in partnership with AESJ and EcoWaste Coalition.

“We are one with nature! What we do to it, we do to ourselves! We pollute it; we pollute ourselves,” lamented Annabelle J. R. Lopez, President of SSKPil, highlighting this year’s theme for the two-day Pandacan event that starts today, “Iisa ang Tao at ang Kalikasan” (Humans and Nature are One).

“Unless we seriously pursue plastic use avoidance and reduction, our children, the future generation will end up playing and walking on plastic wastes sooner or later!,” Lopez continued.

According to the groups, plastic pollution happens when plastic materials are not properly managed, such as by throwing them away or burning them, instead of ecologically managing the same as mandated by the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 or Republic Act 9003.

“Plastics can be found almost anywhere and have started to engulf even our waterways beaches and popular tourist spots, places which are supposedly protected from such unwarranted intrusions especially from pollutants,” noted Sixto Carlos, AESJ founder and Board member of SSKPil.

"In Pandacan where we are making efforts to revive Beata River, along the historic romantic river of Balagtas and Celia, one finds never ending piles of plastic items floating among other debris," continued Carlos.  

EcoWaste Coalition Zero Waste Program Officer, Daniel Alejandre, for his part, noted that data from a 2017 waste audit conducted by the international anti-plastic pollution movement Break Free From Plastic along the beaches of Freedom Island, Paranaque City, a protected area, showed that “almost 50% (49.33%) of wastes from collected samples comprise of plastics, 82% of which are disposables.”

The more than 16-year old RA 9003 provides that ‘solid waste avoidance and volume reduction through source reduction and waste minimization’ be among the major policies that should be instituted by local governments, which are the main actor in implementing the said law.

To deal with plastic pollution, the groups highlighted the necessary mainstreaming of zero waste programs and strict implementation of RA 9003 that should start at the barangay level.

The groups continued that Industries can do a lot and should do its part in stopping plastic pollution at the point of manufacturing.

“Industries should green and clean their production processes so that products that they make are safe, non-toxic, and environmentally acceptable,” the green groups voiced out.

All the while, RA 9003 provides for the prohibition on the use of non-environmentally acceptable products, which, according to the law, are those that do not possess the quality of being re-usable, biodegradable, recyclable, and non-toxic to the environment.

“Industries should also institute extended producer responsibility to ensure that each product, at the end of its useful life, return to its manufacturer for appropriate management,” concluded the groups.

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References:

Break Free From Plastic, Waste and Brand Audit in Freedom Island, Powerpoint Presentation, 2017
Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000
https://www.facebook.com/event s/131913394188262