‘Brigada Eskwela’ warning: Lead paint affects students’ learning abilities

Published August 5, 2022, 5:15 PM

by Jel Santos

As this year’s “Brigada Eskwela” continues, the EcoWaste Coalition reminded principals, teachers, parents, students, and community volunteers to shun the use of lead paints as they welcome a cleaner and safer school year through the so-called annual “Bayanihan sa Paaralan”.

(Photo courtesy of EcoWaste)

Repairing wooden chairs at the San Agustin Elementary School (SAES) in Novaliches, Quezon City on Friday, August 8, the EcoWaste explained that lead paints are not prohibited for no reason as decorating school facilities, amenities, furniture, and fixtures with this type of paint comes with a price to pay. Thus, the waste and pollution watchdog set a good example by using lead-free paints during the event.

“It’s important to keep our classrooms and the overall school environment safe from harmful chemicals like lead, which can affect the learning abilities of our students and slow down their development,” said SAES Principal Dr. Randy G. Tagaan.

“We therefore welcome EcoWaste Coalition’s efforts to promote awareness on and adherence to DepEd Order 4, s.2017, as well as the Quezon City Ordinance requiring the compulsory use of lead-free paints,” he added.

To note, the DepEd Order 4, s.2017 mandates the use of lead-safe paints in all preparatory, elementary, and secondary schools, while Quezon City Ordinance 2739-2018 provides for the obligatory procurement and use of lead-safe paints for city government-funded construction, maintenance, and renovation projects and activities.

Unlike lead paints, compliant paints are free of intentionally added lead compounds, which are banned in paints and similar surface coatings as per the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-issued Chemical Control Order for lead and lead compounds, the EcoWaste noted.

“We remain committed to promoting the effective implementation of national and local policies banning lead-containing paints, which we successfully pursued in close collaboration with our partners in the government, industry, and civil society to protect the health of children, women, and workers from lead poisoning,” EcoWaste National Coordinator Aileen Lucero assured.

“The need for continuing information drive is needed as some solvent-based lead-containing paints may still be in the market, especially old stocks that have not been retrieved,” she said. “Some leaded paints in aerosol cans from abroad are being sold by some retailers, including online sellers.”

During the Brigada Eskwela at SAES, the group also took the opportunity to draw attention to the ecological solid waste management (ESWM) of school waste.

In line with DepEd Order 5, s.2014, every school is required to apply the basic principles and practices in ESWM, including waste prevention and reduction, segregation at source, reuse, recycling, and composting “to promote environmental awareness and action among the students.”

Moreover, it also requires schools to put up a Materials Recovery Facility to serve as a storage area for discards that can still be repaired, reused, or recycled. It further requires a temporary space where non-recyclable or non-biodegradable discards, also known as residual waste, can be stored.