DepEd orders all schools to use lead-free paints in Brigada Eskwela PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 30 May 2016 11:57

The Department of Education (DepEd) has directed all public schools to ensure only lead-free paints are used in refurbishing classrooms and other school facilities during the conduct of Brigada Eskwela from Monday to Saturday.

In a memorandum, Education Secretary Armin Luistro said “the use of lead-free paints in schools must be observed at all times”, particularly during school maintenance activities such as Brigada Eskwela.

Brigada Eskwela, also known as National Schools Maintenance Week, is a nationwide voluntary effort of teachers, parents, students, community members, and private organizations to repair and prepare classrooms in time for the school opening.

The opening of classes for school year 2016-2017 is on June 13.

Luistro said the agency aligns itself with the World Health Organization and the United Nations Environment Program in advocating a cooperative initiative called the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint (GAELP), focused on internationally preventing lead exposure in children.

The DepEd chief, citing GAELP, said that “childhood lead poisoning can have life-long health impacts, including learning disabilities, anemia, and disorders in coordination, visual, spatial, and language skills.”

In a press briefing, DepEd Undersecretary Mario Deriquito reiterated that the GAELP initiative is in line with the department’s goal of being “learner-centered”.

“We are very much concerned about the welfare of our learners. We believe that paints containing lead pose danger to the health of the children,” said Deriquito, adding that the directive is included in the guidelines for the implementation of Brigada Eskwela.

Similarly, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Department of Health (DOH) have also expressed their support to the GAELP initiative.

DENR has already set a phase-out deadline by Jan. 1, 2017 for leaded architectural, decorative, and household paints through Administrative Order No. 2013-24.

Meanwhile, DOH approved of the use of lead-free paints as an important thrust toward the attainment of the government’s “Kalusugang Pangkalahatan” and the United Nations’ newly-adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals.