PRESS RELEASE: Stop the Use of Leaded Cat and Asbestos Roof to Protect the Future of Indonesian Chil

Jakarta, October 23, 2017- Children's playground, early education facilities and rampant rainbow villages appeared in some colorful Indonesian cities are potentially a source of lead exposure that can cause serious growth disorders in children.

The use of leaded paint in early childhood education facilities as well as in houses are source of lead exposure that is easily accessible by children. Some playgrounds and its set of tools, such as wood and metal gear, table-holders, furniture and other early childhood facilities painted with light-colored paint should be watched. In addition to lead, many children's facilities also use the roof of the asbestos material. Asbestos dust in kindergarten, playground and TPA facilities are at high risk for children's health in the long term. WHO states that asbestos and lead are 2 out of 10 chemicals that should get chemicals of concern.

Through GAELP (Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paints) WHO is supported by the United Nations Environment (UN-Environment) establishing the period 22-28 October 2017 as International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action 2017 (International Week of Lead Hazard Prevention 2017). This is the fifth year of activity that continues to be done every 3rd week in October aimed at raising awareness of the dangers of leaded paint especially in children.

This activity provides an opportunity to raise awareness around the world about the importance of removing leaded paint. Globally, UN-Environment and WHO together with several States & parties incorporated in GAELP (Global Alliance for the Elimination of Lead in Paint) agreed to abolish lead in paint by 2020.

A Global Lead Paint Report report, released by IPEN, also as part of ILPPW, found that many of the decorative paints sold in more than 40 low- and middle-income countries that are part of the study, have a high concentration of lead - sometimes violating national regulations.

"The health effects of lead exposure on the brains of toddlers and asbestos dust will last a lifetime, which is actually preventable," said Yuyun Ismawati, Senior Advisor of BaliFokus. "By allowing the continued circulation of leaded paints, we limit intellectual development our children and demographic-bonus generation.

Various government agencies have welcomed civil society advocacy for the removal of lead in paint. Since BaliFokus examines lead in decorative paints, organic solvent-based paint standards in 2013, SNI 8011: 2014 have been released by the National Standardization Agency in 2015, set a voluntary standard of lead concentration in paints sold in the Indonesian market of 600 ppm.

The Risk Assessment Study conducted by Pure Earth/Blacksmith Institute, BaliFokus, Committee on Leaded Gasoline Removal (KPBB) and Ministry of Environment and Forestry between 2016 to 2017 at a selected locations, houses and early childhood educational facilities (PAUD) and Kindergarten as well as children's playground in Jakarta megapolitan areas found positive and high lead paint in school equipment (benches and tables) and educational toys (including swings, seesaws, climbing and gliding unit).

"Six schools from a total of 19 schools visited by the team examined by an XRF (X-Ray fluorescence) unit, showed lead content up to 10 mg/cm2. However, the recommended safe limit advised by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, is 1 mg/cm2“, said Budi Susilorini, Director of Pure Earth/Blacksmith Institute Indonesia. Because Indonesia does not have any standard yet, the team used the safe limit recommended by US Housing and Urban Development.

Although various departments in Indonesia have issued regulations and standards and classify asbestos as Hazardous (B3) substance, to date, asbestos is still allowed to be produced and used for various purposes. In fact, some early childhood education centers use asbestos for the roof of the classroom.

"Exposure to asbestos dust from the early age may have effects on the children’s health in adulthood because the effects of asbestos will only be seen 20-30 years later after the first exposures," said Firman Budiawan from Ina-BAN (Indonesia-Ban Asbestos Network). "Asbestos Related Diseases (ARDs) are not easily detected but can be avoided. Use of other safer roof materials can reduce the risk of asbestos exposure."

Exposure to asbestos dust can be minimized by apply coating onto the surface of asbestos with water-based or solvent-based lead-free paints. For that purpose, this campaign aims to demonstrate the synergy action to protect children's health from lead exposure and asbestos in released by paints and dusts. In this campaign, BaliFokus is working with a couple of paint manufacturers, Bital and Indaco, to paint selected schools in 3 cities with lead-free paint and measuring the lead levels before and after the application jointly with the Blacksmith Indonesia.

For this year's campaign, BaliFokus started its activities with a focus group discussion and press conference on October 23, 2017 in Jakarta. Following the event in Jakarta, BaliFokus conducted a synergy campaign and action to protect children from lead exposure in paint and asbestos roofing in Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Bekasi, Yogyakarta and Denpasar.


For more information:

Sonia Buftheim – BaliFokus;; +6287782378890

Budi Susilorini - Pure Earth/Blacksmith Institute Indonesia;; +628128008438 Firman Budiawan - INA-Ban;; +6282218591566

The press release document can be downloaded here.

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