Editorial | Securing a healthy community

More than 2.5 billion people live in countries where lead paint is still sold for residential use, including the Philippines.

The Occupational Knowledge International, a nonprofit organization based in the US working to reduce exposures to industrial pollutants, said that more than 2.5 billion people live in countries where lead paint is still sold for residential use.

Lead affects multiple body systems and is particularly harmful to young children and pregnant women. The World Health Organization has a campaign on lead poisoning and health, highlighting the fact that lead in the body is distributed to the brain, liver, kidney and bones.

It is also stored in the teeth and bones, where it accumulates over time. It further stated that lead in bone is released into the blood during pregnancy and becomes a source of exposure to the developing fetus.

People are exposed to lead in paint in various ways. Buildings painted with lead paint either on the interior or exterior have higher concentrations of lead in the dust, WHO said. Young children are susceptible to exposure from paint on toys, furniture, playground equipment and other products. The very young ingest paint peelings or inhale paint dust from the toys they put into their mouth or play with.

Last Tuesday, the city council passed an ordinance prohibiting the use of unsanctioned lead-safe paint, springing from the memorandum issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources on a three-year phase out period on the use of the substance from 2013 to 2016 for lead-containing paints used for architectural, decorative and household (ADH) applications, and a six-year phase-out period from 2013-2019 for lead-containing paints used for industrial applications.

The prohibition includes paints used in the construction, maintenance, and renovation, among other activities in Davao City.
Being mindful of the ill-effects of lead in the long term will keep people healthy and will certainly translate to a generally productive community.

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