25 January 2022, Davao City/Quezon City. Environmental health organizations today commended a Mindanao-based construction supplies chain store for heeding their call to stop the sale of spray paints containing lead, a chemical banned in the manufacture of paints.
The Davao City-based Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (IDIS) and the Quezon City-based EcoWaste Coalition gave Citi Hardware two thumbs-up for taking lead-containing Tacoma Spray Paints off the shelves and for replacing them with new products that have been reformulated without lead additives.
It will be recalled that IDIS and the EcoWaste Coalition wrote last May 2021 to the Citi Hardware head office located in Davao City informing the company, which has 76 stores nationwide, of the results of laboratory tests commissioned by the latter on the lead content of six variants of Tacoma Spray Paints that were found to contain lead up to 99,900 parts per million (ppm).
The sale of paints with lead content in excess of the maximum limit of 90 ppm is prohibited under the DENR A.O. 2013-24, or the Chemical Control Order (CCO) for lead and lead compounds. Davao City Ordinance 0461-2018 and Quezon City Ordinance 2739-2018 further require the compulsory procurement and use of lead-safe paints for painting jobs paid out of public funds to protect people’s health from the adverse effects of lead exposure.
“This is a welcome development to the lead-safe campaign. May this move from Citi Hardware bring precedence to more retail companies to drop their lead-containing products and provide consumers with better and safer options. Moreover, this transition from the company contributes to the improvement of public health as well as in the advancement of environmental protection from the ill effects of lead,” said Atty. Mark Peñalver, Executive Director, IDIS. “We need more private institutions to sincerely adhere to government policies and regulations not just for the sake of compliance but as a conscious effort to help advance and promote public health and sustainability.”
“Our persistence has paid off. We have again demonstrated that companies can be induced to reformulate paint products with no lead additives in line with the CCO. This success encourages us to continue our periodic paint sampling, testing and outreach activities to check on our nation’s progress in eliminating lead-based paints, a major source of significant childhood lead exposure,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition, who also emphasized the need for increased consumer awareness and assertion of their right to lead-safe products.
In response to the appeal made by IDIS and the EcoWaste Coalition, Citi Hardware decided to procure newly reformulated spray paints under the Tacoma brand from its supplier in China.
“This new and improved product range is in keeping with the government mandated product guidelines. As a company, we are committed to complying with all the necessary government-mandated guidelines and more importantly prioritize the safety and security of everyone. We would like to extend our appreciation for informing us about this matter,” the company said.
The company provided the EcoWaste Coalition with copies of the Certificates of Analysis and Compliance for the new Tacoma Spray Paints as prepared by Guandong Sanvo Chemical Industry Ltd. As the certificates did not specify if the products passed the 90 ppm total lead content limit (and not the 90 ppm soluble lead limit), the EcoWaste Coalition requested Citi Hardware to validate this with Guandong Sanvo, which it confirmed in the affirmative.
On January 20, the EcoWaste Coalition purchased samples of the reformulated Tacoma Spray Paints from the Citi Hardware branch in Dasmariñas City, Cavite, which it subsequently screened for lead.
Using an advanced Olympus Vanta M Series X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) analyzer, the group detected no lead in the following variants of Tacoma Spray Paints, which had earlier tested positive for lead: glossy finish green, red and yellow, and fluorescent green, orange and yellow.
Three other variants (glossy finish blue and bright chrome and heat resistant silver) also screened negative for lead.
Lead is a toxic chemical that can cause adverse health effects to everyone, but most especially children, including damage to the brain and the central nervous system, slowed growth and development, learning, hearing and speaking difficulties, and behavioral problems.
“There is no level of exposure to lead that is known to be without harmful effects,” according to the World Health Organization (WHO), which has listed lead among the “ten chemicals of major public health concern.”
Both the EcoWaste Coalition and IDIS are participating organizations of the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN), a global environmental network of over 600 public interest NGOs in 124 countries that is working to eliminate and reduce the most hazardous substances to forge a toxics-free future for all.