EcoWaste Coalition warns against leaded paints with “No Pb” symbol
21 November 2023, Quezon City. Paints containing lead, a chemical element with symbol Pb, must not carry the “No Pb” symbol as this will constitute a violation of the right of consumers to be given accurate and truthful product information.
Putting the “No Pb” pictogram on the label when the product contains lead in excess of the 90 parts per million (ppm) limit is deemed deceptive and illegal under the law, particularly Republic Act 7394 or the Consumer Act of the Philippines.
The EcoWaste Coalition pointed this out after screening three variants of China-made Tiger Quick Drying Lacquer Spray that it bought for P95 each from an online dealer based in Baras, Rizal.
As per X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) screening performed by the group, the lemon yellow Tiger Spray Paint contained 77,700 ppm of lead, while the grass green and bright red colors had 30,740 ppm and 136 ppm, respectively.
According to the DENR Administrative Order No. 2013-24, paints or other similar surface coatings containing lead in excess of 90 ppm are considered lead-containing paints, which have been phased out in the Philippines to protect human health against lead exposure, especially the health of children and other vulnerable populations, including women of reproductive age and workers.
Architectural, decorative and household paints containing lead were phased out from 2013 to 2016, while lead-added industrial paints were phased out from 2013 to 2019.
While the label does not provide information about the product’s manufacturer, the online product listing indicates that it is supplied by “Tiger Industrial Philippines,” which is supposedly “committed to sustainability and (to) using eco-friendly ingredients.”
As stated in the product description, “Tiger Spray Paint can be used for a variety of projects – from automotive, industrial, or even creative use.” It is also described as “ang pinakamurang spray paint ng bayan” (the cheapest spray paint in town).
The EcoWaste Coalition renewed its call on responsible agencies to actively enforce the national ban on all lead-containing paints, as well the prohibition on false and misleading advertising under RA 7394. It also urged the authorities to take action that will cause the removal of lead-containing paint products from physical and online stores.
As stated in the Consumer Act, consumer products sold in the country, whether manufactured here or abroad, must comply with the necessary labeling requirements, including the correct and registered trade name or brand name; registered trademark; registered business name and address of the manufacturer, importer, or re-packer; general make or active ingredients; net weight; and country of manufacture if imported.
As spray paints sold offline and online are mostly sourced from abroad, the EcoWaste Coalition requested the Bureau of Customs to disallow the entry of paint products not compliant to the 90 ppm lead limit and other applicable regulations such as those on product labeling.
Recognizing the dangers when surfaces previously coated with lead paint are disturbed, the EcoWaste Coalition further urged the authorities to require paint can labels to also provide a health warning on lead-contaminated dust that can be created during painting, renovation or repair activities.