EcoWaste Coalition Finds More Mislabeled Lead-Containing “Lead-Free” Paints


4 June 2024, Quezon City. As World Environment Day is observed on June 5, the toxics watchdog group EcoWaste Coalition revealed it has detected violative levels of lead on seven colors of an imported spray paint brand despite the “no Pb” icon on the can (Pb is the symbol for lead from Latin plumbum).
While some elements of the product labeling and packaging have changed, the newly repackaged Korona Spray Paints were still found non-compliant with the regulation banning lead in excess of 90 parts per million (ppm) in all paints, spray paints or aerosol paints included.
Based on the X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) screening of dry paint samples, the following colors of new China-made Korona Spray Paints were found to contain lead above the legal limit: lemon yellow (100,000 ppm), yellow (100,000 ppm), orange (63,500 ppm), grass green (54,360 ppm), signal red (211 ppm), violet (169 ppm), and rose pink (124 ppm).
Confirmatory laboratory tests commissioned by the EcoWaste Coalition had previously found the old Korona Spray Paints from Thailand contaminated with lead: yellow (64,800 ppm), orange (50,900 ppm), violet (1,200 ppm), signal red (1,110 ppm) and rose pink (428 ppm).
The new Korona Spray Paints being sold online and in some retail stores are now marked “made in China” with a bigger product logo in front and colored caps or lids to differentiate it from the old ones, the EcoWaste Coalition observed. The new China-made products were manufactured in 2023 and 2024.
Korona Spray Paint used to be “made in Thailand” with a smaller product logo in front and an all-black cap or lids regardless of the paint color. The old Thai-made products were manufactured in 2021.
The body of the can is black for both the old and new Korona Spray Paints on which is written some product information in English, Japanese and Thai.
While the product manufacturer, importer or distributor is not identified on the label, the following odd-looking address can be seen on the new and old Korona Spray Paint cans: “Brgy. San Rafael Tarlac, Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines.”
Following its latest discovery of more leaded paints, the EcoWaste Coalition reminded manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers, as well as consumers, that lead additives are banned in all paints, including spray or aerosol paints, as per DENR A.O. No. 2013-24, or the Chemical Control Order (CCO) for lead and its compounds.
The CCO, which received the coveted Future Policy Award in 2021 (special category on lead paint), provides for a total lead content limit of 90 ppm, the strictest standard for lead in paint across the globe. All paints offered for sale in the local market, including imported ones and those sold online, must abide by this regulation aimed at eliminating the risks of the use of lead in paints and products covered with leaded paints.
To assist the Philippines and other countries in controlling the global trade of lead chromates (the most common pigments used in producing lead-based paints) and paints that contain them, the EcoWaste Coalition supports the advocacy of the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) to list lead chromates as hazardous chemicals subject to the provisions of the Rotterdam Convention’s Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure.
According to experts, lead paint is one of the most widespread sources of lead exposure among children. Lead exposure can harm human health and even small amounts can damage a child’s neurological development, causing learning difficulties, low IQ and behavioral problems.
“It also causes long-term harm in adults, including increased risk of high blood pressure and kidney damage. Exposure of pregnant women to high levels of lead can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth and low birth weight,” the World Health Organization (WHO) said, noting “there is no permissible level of exposure to lead that is known to be without harmful effects.”**


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