17 January 2010

EcoWaste Coalition Urges Government to Test and Ban Tainted Children’s Toys

Quezon City. Following moves by American and Canadian regulators, the chemicals watchdog EcoWaste Coalition today urged the authorities to immediately test and recall toys containing toxic metals to safeguard children’s health.

“We appeal to Secretaries Cabral, Favila and Quinto to take concerted steps against toxic metals such as cadmium and lead in popular consumer products such as toys,” said Manny Calonzo, President of the EcoWaste Coalition, in a common plea to the health, trade and environment departments.

“We urge them to check on toys being sold in stores and sidewalks and assure the public that none of the toys tainted with cadmium, lead and other chemicals of concern such as phthalates are being sold in the market,” he added.

“It is the responsibility of the state as well as the toy manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers to keep these poisons out of children’s toys and guarantee the safety of young consumers,” he emphasized.

The EcoWaste Coalition requested the three Secretaries to act swiftly for children’s health and safety after regulatory agencies in Canada and US recently warned against the presence of excessive levels of toxic metals in some children’s jewelry products that are being offered in toy stores.

Filipino children, the group said, can be exposed to cadmium, lead and other harmful substances by biting, chewing, sucking or accidental eating of toxic-laden toys.

Health Canada on January 15 advised consumers that excessively high levels of lead, a neurotoxin, have been found in some inexpensive children's jewelry products sold in the country.

While the US Consumer Product Safety Commission initiated a formal investigation on the presence of cadmium, a known human carcinogen, in children’s jewelry following the release of a shocking report by the Associated Press (AP) last January 11.

AP reported dangerous levels of cadmium in some of the 103 pieces of low-cost children’s jewelry that it sent for laboratory testing, including bracelets, pendants and trinkets imported from China and sold in major retail stores in US.

The report indicated that cadmium is being used by some toy manufacturers as a substitute for lead after US Congress in 2008 barred its use in children’s products such as toys and jewelry, despite cadmium being more toxic than lead.

The AP also reported that cadmium is so toxic that “if the charms were waste from manufacturing” it would qualify as hazardous waste.

Cadmium, a heavy metal used as a stabilizer in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and in coatings and pigments in plastic and paint, is carcinogenic and has been linked to lung, kidney and intestinal
ailments, weakened bones, developmental effects, learning disabilities and permanent IQ loss.

Acute toxicity from the intake of elevated levels of cadmium can lead to abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and even death The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has listed cadmium in the country’s First Priority Chemicals List that has to be regulated to prevent and reduce serious risks to public health, workplace and the environment.

The DENR has so far issued four Chemical Control Orders (CCOs) – for asbestos, cyanide, mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) - out of the first set of 28 priority chemicals.


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