07 September 2013

EcoWaste Coalition Welcomes Signing of Toy and Game Safety Labeling Act of 2013



Product label of China-made "Shrilling Chicken" that was recently recalled in Sweden for violating the European Union's regulation on persistent organic pollutants (POPs). 

An environmental group tracking toxins in children’s products welcomed the signing of Republic Act 10620, the Toy and Game Safety Labeling Act of 2013, by President Benigno S. Aquino III last September 3.

In a statement sent to the media, the EcoWaste Coalition cited the new law as a potent tool that will compel toy manufacturers to comply with safety labeling requirements or face legal sanctions.

“R.A. 10620, we hope, will be able to fix a persistent problem on poorly and deceptively labeled toys that we have been seeing since we started to embark on regular toy sampling way back in 2011,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect. 

Toy sampling conducted by the group showed 121 of the 435 toy samples (27%) that it analyzed in 2011 and 312 of the 518 samples (60%) it examined in 2012 had antimony, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead and mercury above levels of concern, which were not indicated on the product labels.

“By ensuring that toys and games bear the mandatory safety warnings and instructions, including cautionary statements, we uphold the rights of children who are most vulnerable to biological, chemical, mechanical, physical and other types of hazards that toys may present,” he said.

Dizon pointed out that toy consumers have, among other rights, 1) the right to have access to truthful product information to facilitate sound choice, and 2) the right to be protected against the marketing of goods that are harmful to health and life.

Under the law, “a
balloon, ball, marble, or toy or game which packaging is not in compliance with the requirements shall be considered a misbranded or banned hazardous substance and withdrawn from the market at the expense of the manufacturer or importer.”

A fine of not less than P10,000 but not exceeding P50,000 or imprisonment of not less than three months to two years, or both, await violators of the law.

R.A. 10620 has assigned the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Health (DOH) to regularly publish every six months 1) the list of all manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers who failed to comply with the requirements of the law, and 2) the list of all misbranded or banned hazardous substances disallowed for sale and distribution, respectively.

“We are excited to see and even contribute to the lists that the DTI and DOH are tasked to do.  The information on these lists will surely assist consumers in making informed and healthy purchasing decisions,” Dizon said.

As the Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A. 10620 are prepared, the
EcoWaste Coalition proposed a parallel review of the Philippine National Standards for safety of toys to ensure essential amendments are made in light of relevant policy developments on children’s health and safety, nationally and globally.

Senators Miriam Defensor Santiago and Manny Villar authored the Senate version of R.A. 10620 during the last Congress, while its House version was authored by Representatives Diosdado Arroyo, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Rufus Rodriguez.
-end-

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