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A policy solution being implemented by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to effectively minimize the adverse effects of chemical exposure on human health and the environment has been named as one of the top candidates for the Future Policy Award 2021.

Out of the 55 policies from 36 countries that were nominated, the DENR's Administrative Order (DAO) 2013-24, or the Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds, was chosen as one of the 12 policies from five continents that have been shortlisted for the award.

Dubbed as the "Oscar on Best Policies," the Future Policy Award of the World Future Council recognizes countries with "the most effective policy solutions" that aim to abate the detrimental effects of chemical exposure to human health and the environment.

DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu welcomed the inclusion of the Philippines, saying that it is an indication that the government is doing right in its campaign to "regulate, phase-out, or ban chemicals" to eliminate risks to public health, workplace and the environment.

"We are elated to know that our effort to protect our people from the harmful effects of chemicals has been recognized, not to mention, on the international stage," Cimatu said.

"This just shows that we are on the right track as we regulate, phase-out, and ban chemicals for the serious risks it could bring to public health and our environment," he added.

Section 4 of DAO 2013-24 mandates the prohibition of the use of lead and lead compounds in the production/manufacturing of packaging for food and drink, fuel additives, water pipes, toys, school supplies, cosmetics, and paints.

The policy has ordered the prohibition of production of paints--as a pigment, drying agent, or for some intentional use--with more than 90 parts per million or ppm, set as the threshold limit.

A moratorium for the production beyond the threshold limit was enforced since the implementation of the order in 2013.

Lead in paints, however, was allowed for three years (2013-2016) for architectural, decorative, household applications, and six years for industrial applications (2013-2019).

Beyond the set transitional period, the use of lead in paints will be prohibited.

According to the DENR-Environmental Management Bureau, lead in paints is a global issue and is being discussed in several international fora, where the Philippines has shared its experience in phasing out lead in paints.

The Future Policy Award, the first and only award that recognizes policies for the benefit of present and future generations on an international level, is an annual event by the World Future Council since 2010.

Aside from the Philippines' Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds, policies from Colombia, Cuba, Denmark, Ethiopia, India, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, the Netherlands, Sri Lanka, Sweden, and the United States were also shortlisted for the award this year.

The winners of the Future Policy Award 2021 will be announced on June 29 while a virtual awarding ceremony will be held on July 6. ###