MANILA, April 28, 2014— Catholic parishes thinking about renovations are being cautioned by an antitoxic campaigner against lead paint poisoning.
Environmental group EcoWaste Coalition said church authorities should be vigilant because lead added in paint as a pigment and drying compound can cause death in extreme cases.
“All religious statues, which many Catholic adults and kids customarily touch and kiss as an expression of faith and reverence, should be toxic-free,” the EcoWaste said.
The group called on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to order the banning of lead-filled paint coatings being used by statue by local religious makers.
In a letter to the Catholic hierarchy, it stressed the need for the Church to push for the elimination of lead contents in religious icons, which is poisonous to humans.
The EcoWaste warned that lead exposure could cause neurological, reproductive, developmental and behavioral problems.
The group is also hoping that the CBCP would consider pushing for the use of lead-free paints in other Church-run institutions such as schools, hospitals, orphanages and other facilities.
“We hope they will take their action further to ensure that paints used are compliant with the country’s regulatory policy for lead,” it added.
The group earlier revealed some statues of newly declared Saint John Paul II with lead content of up to almost 1,000 parts per million (ppm), which is way above the regulatory limit of 90 ppm.
These icons, it revealed, are being sold by religious craft stores and sidewalk vendors in Manila particularly in Oroquieta and Tayuman streets and also outside Quiapo Church.
The CBCP, meanwhile, is willing to study the matter.
“We hope to get a copy of it (findings) so we can discuss the matter. We will study so we would know what to do about it,” said Fr. Marvin Mejia, CBCP secretary general. (CBCPNews)