The Philippines, along with Kyrgyzstan, Sweden, Sri Lanka, and Colombia, received a special award for its “lead in paint” policy. Often referred to as the Oscar on Best Policies, the Future Policy Award crowns five countries for their policies and initiatives in minimizing the adverse effects of exposure to chemicals on human health and the environment.
Every year, the most impactful policies tackling humankind’s most pressing challenges are celebrated through the Future Policy Award, the first and only award that recognizes policies for the benefit of present and future generations on an international level. The aim of the Award is to raise global awareness of exemplary policies and speed up policy action.
Out of 55 nominated policies from 36 countries, the Philippines, thru its policies on Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds (CCO 2013-24), receives a Special Award on “Lead in Paint”. Lead is a naturally occurring element, but once released into the environment, persists as a potential source of exposure that can result in lead poisoning.
The CCO 2013-24 aims to increase awareness of the toxicity of lead and lead compounds and the availability of technically superior and safer alternatives. This policy also aims to develop the framework for proper implementation of appropriate prevention-based programs to reduce and eliminate risks from the use of lead, and to enforce the provisions stated in the Order.
The DENR, thru the Chemical Management Section of the Environmental Management Bureau, pushed for the inclusion of the prohibition of use of lead and lead compounds in the manufacturing of packaging (food and drinks), fuel additives, water pipes, toys, school supplies, cosmetics, and paint. By 2020, the local paint and coating industry, with strong encouragement from the government and civil society, beat the phase-out deadline for lead paints as stipulated by the CCO.
According to the World Future Council, while only a few countries globally enacted comprehensive bans on the use of lead additives in all paints, the Philippines demonstrates that it is entirely possible to restrict the use of lead in all paints, including “industrial” paints, which generally have lead concentrations that are up to 10 times higher.
“The Bureau will continue its collaboration with industries, concerned government agencies, the academe, and the civil society groups to promote compliance and public awareness of our policies on chemical and hazardous waste management to safeguard the health of the public and the environment,” EMB Director William P. Cuñado said.
The Future Policy Award 2021 was held on July 6, 2021. (DENR-EMB/ Rozyn Anne Villanueva)