DepEd bans lead paint in schools
The Department of Education (DepEd) has banned the use of lead-laden paints in schools nationwide, including Metro Manila, to avoid the exposure of students to toxic fumes which can contribute to learning disabilities, anemia and other health hazards.
In a Jan. 18 order, Education Secretary Leonor Briones made the use of independently certified lead-safe paints or coatings mandatory in decorating or repainting classrooms; school facilities such as playgrounds and covered courts; and fixtures and furniture, including tables, chairs, gates and blackboards.
In her order, Briones also said that learning materials such as teaching aids, school supplies and toys should be free of lead, one of the identified toxic and regulated chemicals that pose risks to health and the environment.
The order also covered paint-coated goods or products such as learning materials, tools and equipment directly procured by the school or donated by individuals, groups, corporations or local government units.
The directive was in line with the Jan. 1 phaseout deadline for lead-added architectural, decorative and household paints set by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources through Administrative Order No. 2013-24, according to Briones.
The ban was also in support of the Commission on Human Rights’ 15-point human rights agenda on chemical safety issued in November 2014.
The DENR order has set the threshold limit for lead in paint used as pigment, drying agent and for other intentional use at 90 parts per million. Anything beyond that is considered hazardous to health and the environment.
“The use of lead-safe paints shall reduce children’s exposure to toxic lead via lead-containing paint and dust, thus avoiding health impacts including learning disabilities, anemia and disorders in coordination, visual, spatial and language skills,” Briones said.
Strict compliance with the Philippine Association of Paint Manufacturers’ guidelines for the safe removal or disposal of old paint with lead in case of renovation or restoration of buildings and facilities should also be observed, she added.
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