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EU lauds PH for banning toxic school materials

By: - NewsLab Lead / @MSantosINQ
/ 12:50 PM June 24, 2014

MANILA, Philippines —The European Union praised the Philippines Tuesday for its steps to ban toxic chemicals that have serious consequences on a child’s mental development if exposed to it.

EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux praised the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR’s) issuance of a Chemical Control Order (CCO) that limits the amount of lead and lead compounds in paint, as well as prohibits the use of lead in the manufacture of beverage and food packaging, school supplies, and toys.

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“The country’s ongoing switch to non-lead paint production is key to protecting the health of children and other vulnerable populations from the debilitating effects of lead exposure,” Ledoux said in a
statement.

“A school environment that is safe from lead and other harmful chemicals will have a positive impact on children’s health and their potential to grow, develop and succeed in life,” he said.

Ledoux visited Commonwealth Elementary School with DENR Secretary Ramon Paje for the signing of a Solidarity Statement pushing for “Lead and Mercury Safe Schools for Bright and Healthy Children.”

Lead is a highly toxic chemical known for causing lifelong and irreversible damage to a child’s brain and health even at low levels of exposure. A child’s exposure to lead from lead paint occurs when the paint on surfaces eventually deteriorates to become dust particles that can be inhaled or ingested.

Childhood exposure to lead, in particular, has been blamed for reduced intelligence as measured by decreased IQ points, prompting health experts to recognize “lead caused mental retardation” as a disease.

The World Health Organization reports 600,000 new cases of children with intellectual disabilities due to lead exposure worldwide every year.

“We want to enable our paint industry to shift to lead-free production.  There is now a global action for the elimination of lead in paints, and certainly this CCO is our way of showing our oneness with this advocacy,” Paje said in the statement.

“Chemical safety and security must be a priority of the schools.  May this undertaking inspire more schools to commit towards lead and mercury-safe school environments for Filipino children,” he said.

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TAGS: Children, education, European Union, Food, Lead, safety, School, Toxic
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