Editorial: Lead-safe paints law a welcome dev't

THE 18th Davao City Council approved on third and final reading the ordinance for the use of lead-safe paints to be used in construction, maintenance and renovation activities in the city recently.

The control and/or banning of lead paints has been done years ago by other countries like the United States, United Kingdom and Canada, and the Philippine's Department of Environment and Natural Resources has already issued an Administrative Order in 2013 naming it the Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds.

In fact, the Department of the Interior and Local Government issued a memorandum on the mandatory use of lead-safe paints by all local government units in February this year. This is to support the phase-out of lead-containing paints and reduce the hazards and risks posed by these paints to human health, among others.

The World Health Organization (WHO), through its website, has cited several facts on how hazardous the lead is to our body especially using lead-based paints since "leaded paint is a continuing source of exposure in many countries."

Lead is one of the 10 chemicals that are under the watch list of the WHO to protect the health of workers, children and women of reproductive age.

"Lead affects practically all systems within the body. At high levels it can cause convulsions, coma, and even death. Lower levels of lead can adversely affect the brain, central nervous system, blood cells, and kidneys. The very young children (including the developing fetus) and the impoverished are particularly vulnerable to the toxic effects of lead and can suffer profound and permanent adverse health effects. Exposure of pregnant women to high levels of lead can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth and low birth weight, as well as minor malformations."

The good news is that lead exposure is preventable, thus, harmful effects, including death, caused by lead exposure is also preventable.

If only all the local government units in the country heed the order of the DENR and/or the DILG's memorandum, if not replicate or follow what the Davao City Council has done, creating and passing an ordinance that mandates for "publicly-funded construction, maintenance and renovation projects and activities undertaken by the local government through its employees, contractors, and service providers, as well as partners from public and private sectors including the private-funded construction" to procure and use only certified lead-safe paints then eventually all lead-based products will cease to exist for lack of support, leading to safer and healthier environment.

Remember that "preventable deaths, like lead-caused ones, are most often the result of negligence" of both the sides of the government and the public.


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