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Faucets sold in Manila stores positive for lead.

Byline: Jeannette I. Andrade

MANILA -- An environment and consumer safety watch group has urged the government to strictly enforce a ban on the sale of water pipes with high lead content, particularly in some stores in Manila.

EcoWaste Coalition, which has been advocating the prevention or elimination of human exposure to the toxic metal, said that the local regulation should also include plumbing fittings and fixtures such as brass or chromeplated faucets.

The group made the proposal after it found high levels of leadranging from 1.45 percent to 8.47 percentin brass water faucets bought from plumbing supply stores on Soler Street in Sta. Cruz, Manila.

"The Chemical Control Order (CCO) issued by the government banning lead in the production of water pipes, among other prohibitions, should apply to water faucets and should be strictly enforced," said EcoWaste's lead poisoning prevention campaigner and chemist Jeiel Guarino.

Environment Secretary Ramon Paje issued last December the CCO which prohibits the use of lead exceeding the 90partspermillion (or 0.009 percent) threshold limit in the manufacturing of water pipes, cosmetics, fuel additives, packaging for food and drinks, school supplies, toys and paints.

EcoWaste cited the US Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act that President Barack Obama signed in 2011, which limits lead to just 0.25 percent weighted average in wetted surfaces of water pipes, fittings and fixtures, including faucets.

It was signed into law after American authorities confirmed that "water sitting for several hours or overnight in a brass faucet can leach lead from the brass faucet interior which may produce high lead levels in the first draw of drinking water."

"We urge the government to act to ensure that only leadsafe water faucets and other plumbing fixtures are sold in the market to reduce the potential for lead exposure in drinking water," Guarino said.

He also called on manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers to abide by the CCO for the protection of consumers who may be exposed to contaminated drinking water because of the leadtainted plumbing products.

"While ingesting and inhaling lead paint chips and dust remain the top routes for childhood exposure to lead, we must look at all sources of lead contamination, including lead in drinking water, and eliminate the preventable ones as there is no known safe level of lead exposure for a developing fetus or child," he said.

EcoWaste further said that exposure to high levels of lead in drinking water can result in delays in a child's physical or mental development.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Sep 30, 2014
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