Quezon City. The impending implementation of far-reaching safety regulations for toys and other children’s products in US might result to a massive recall of proscribed items that could eventually find their way to the Philippines and other nations with less stringent requirements.
The EcoWaste Coalition, an advocate for zero waste and chemical safety, raised this potential scenario as the US government is set to put into force on 10 February 2009 the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.
“Old and new inventories of toys, child care articles and other children’s products that will not pass the rigorous US safety requirements might end up in local toy stores, shopping malls, Divisoria or even in ukay-ukay shops,” warned Manny Calonzo, President, EcoWaste Coalition.
“The threat of unsafe toys being shipped to the Philippines is real. We have therefore asked the Bureau of Customs to prepare a contingency plan that will foil any attempt to bring unsafe toys into the country’s ports. It’s better to be safe than sorry,” he added.
In a letter faxed today to the office of Customs Commissioner Napoleon Morales, the Steering Committee of the EcoWaste Coalition called on the BOC “to take precautionary and preventive action to protect our children from imminent exposure to toxic chemicals in unsafe toys.”
Quoting information from the website of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, the EcoWaste Coalition said that the sale of children’s products containing more than 600 parts per million (ppm) total lead is banned beginning 10 February 2009, with even lower limits to take effect in the coming years. Lead, a heavy metal, is a known neurotoxin that can damage the nervous system, particularly among kids, and cause mental retardation, lowered intelligence quotient and blood, kidney and heart diseases.
The new law makes it illegal to manufacture any children's toy or child care article that contains more than 0.1 percent of di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), or benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP). Phthalates are endocrine disrupting chemicals used as plastic softeners in a wide range of consumer and personal care products.
The new law further requires mandatory third party testing and certification for all children's products, permanent tracking label requirements for all children's products, and hazard warning requirements for advertisements of certain toys and children's products.
The EcoWaste Coalition further appealed to local toy importers, ukay-ukay merchants and returning Filipinos from US not to fall into the trap of buying bargain toys that could potentially endanger the health and safety of children.
“The rejected toys will definitely sell cheap as unscrupulous companies and vendors try to clear their stocks. We hope that our toy importers and resellers will not be lured into purchasing the banned toys,” the EcoWaste Coalition pleaded.
The EcoWaste Coalition also urged the 14th Congress, the Department of Health and the Department of Trade and Industry to respond to the latest innovation in consumer product safety in US by strengthening existing regulations and standards that will promote chemical safety and uphold the children’s right to health and to a toxics-free environment.
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