EcoWaste Coalition finds lead in locally made plastic in Manila
MANILA, Philippines—Single-use plastic bags in Manila have been found to contain lead after an eco group conducted screening in early March.
EcoWaste Coalition on Tuesday said that nearly half of the brands examined had lead content.
The group performed the screening last March 4 to 6 in packaging stores in Manila using a portable X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) analytical device. The stores were in and around public markets of Divisoria, Paco, Pritil, and Quiapo.
“A chemical screening conducted by our group prior to the COVID-19 lockdown found lead in the range of 184 to 3,485 parts per million (ppm) in 17 out of 39 brands of locally manufactured yellow plastic sando bags,” said Thony Dizon, chemical safety campaigner of the organization.
The group cited the violation of DENR Administrative Order (DAO) 2013-024 or the Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds in producing and selling plastic bags with lead. The DAO states that the use of lead and lead compounds is prohibited in the manufacturing of packaging for food and drink.
EcoWaste Coalition said that the following plastic bag brands had a lead over 100 ppm: Alas, Bandera Saturn, Centrum, Genius, Mercury, Palengke Queen, Pinoy Brothers, Runner, Season, Shure Finest, Sonic, Star Bucks, Swimmer, Tulip, Unique, Victory and White Dove.
Some had low or non-detectable levels of lead, namely: ABC, Aqua Boy, Bandera Sun Moon, Bandera Tamaraw, Bees, Bio, Bizon, Calypso Walrus, Cheetah, Comet, Donewell, Fortuner, JR, Jumper, Mr. Divisoria, Shure Ultra, Snowbird, Speed, Starbag, Super Sonik, Supra and Top Place.
“The low or non-detectable levels of lead on some plastic bags do not make them any better,” Dizon said.
“Our findings add to the growing body of evidence showing plastic bags are a threat to human health and the environment because of the many chemicals, including hazardous substances such as lead, that make them up,” he added.
Lead can be toxic to humans and has more negative health effects on children six and below, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. With children, lead in the blood can result in behavior and learning problems and lower IQ. Lead can meanwhile cause cardiovascular problems and reproductive issues in adults.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that prolonged exposure to lead can lead to some illnesses or conditions such as abdominal pain, constipation, depression, being forgetful and nauseated. It can also cause cancer.
“Please bring reusable bags for dry goods, and reusable containers for wet goods whenever you go to the public market or supermarket to reduce your use and disposal of paper and plastic disposables during the COVID-19 health crisis,” urged Jove Benosa, zero waste campaigner of EcoWaste Coalition.
Bayongs and tote bags could be reusable bag options, while coolers, pails and ice cream containers can be used for meat, poultry and fish.
The group also called for a comprehensive policy to ban single-use plastic bags so that manufacturing of such bags can be reduced while also preventing chemical and waste pollution.
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