25 November 2013

Laboratory Tests Detect Toxic Phthalates in Toys





Question: what do some kiddie boxing gloves, squeaky toy, soft ball and play chair have in common?  Answer: toxic phthalates.

Phthalates, which are industrial chemicals often used to soften polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic and are linked to reproductive and developmental health problems, were detected in some toy samples in violation of Philippine, US and EU regulations.

The EcoWaste Coalition reported that four of the five toy samples it purchased from legitimate retail outlets and sent to a private laboratory for analysis contained certain phthalates above the allowable maximum concentrations of 0.1 percent as stipulated in relevant regulations of the European Union, the United States and the Philippines.

The EU Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation (EC) 1907/2006, the US Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 and the Philippine Department of Health Administrative Order 2009-0005-A prohibit three types of phthalates for use in children's toys such as di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP), and further prohibit the use of three other phthalates such as diisononyl phthalate (DINP), diisodecyl phthalate (DIDP) and di-n-octyl phthalate (DnOP) in toys that can be placed in a child’s mouth.

Phthalates from the five samples were extracted and analyzed in Taiwan by SGS, a global testing company, using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS) as required in the “Standard Operating Procedure for Determination of Phthalates” of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Laboratory test results showed that:

1.  A green vinyl frog from a pack of five squeaky animal toys obtained for P50 had 34.5% DINP and 0.295% DIDP;

2.  A “Spence” soft ball from a pack of four vinyl balls procured for P129.75 had 7.08% DEHP and 0.284% DINP.

3.  A “Funny Toys” kiddie boxing gloves made of vinyl with “SpongeBob Squarepants” design purchased for P33 had 6.75 % DEHP; and

4.  An unlabeled yellow play chair with “Winnie the Pooh” vinyl seat bought for P179.75 had 1.5% DEHP.

“Based on the lab test results, we call upon the government and the industry, including toy retailers, to immediately order the removal of these toys off the store shelves, to prevent harm to children’s health,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

“As we have just scratched the surface, we request our health authorities to search for more phthalate-contaminated toys in the local market and have them recalled at once,” he added.

Citing data from the EU rapid alert system for non-food dangerous products, Dizon said that since 2010 European governments have withdrawn some 483 toy products from the market, including 124 toys recalled in 2013, for violating the REACH regulation on phthalates. 

“Consumer safety-conscious retailers should stop selling PVC toys.  They should further demand that toy manufacturers, importers and distributors test their toy products for phthalates and other chemicals of concern, and to fully disclose such information on the product labels and the companies’ websites,” he emphasized.

According to the Endocrine Society, phthalates are primarily used as plasticizers in the manufacture of flexible vinyl plastic which, in turn, is used in consumer products, flooring, and wall coverings, food contact applications, medical devices and personal-care products (e. g ., perfumes, lotions, cosmetics).

“Human exposure to phthalates is widespread and occurs through ingestion, inhalation, and dermal contact,” said the Endocrine Society, the world's oldest, largest, and most active organization devoted to research on hormones and the clinical practice of endocrinology.

Phthalates are believed to alter hormonal functions and are classified as among the endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs).

Scientific studies have linked phthalate exposures to reproductive and development health issues such as deformed penises, undescended testicles, precocious puberty, infertility, shorter pregnancy duration and birth defects.

Studies have likewise linked phthalates to asthma, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, obesity and cancer.

-end-

http://home.doh.gov.ph/ais_public/aopdf/ao2009-0005-A.pdf
https://www.cpsc.gov/phthalates
http://www.cbi.eu/system/files/marketintel/2012_eu_legislation_phthalates_in_toys_and_childcare_articles.pdf
https://www.endocrine.org/endocrine-press/scientific-statements
http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/safety/rapex/alerts/main/index.cfm?event=main.listNotifications&CFID=3726760&CFTOKEN=89183746&jsessionid=089c3b8c166339156cae67156a7347767733


Additional Information:

According to Department of Health Administrative Order 2009-0005-A as amended in December 2011, “it shall be unlawful to manufacture for sale, offer for sale, distribute in commerce, or import into the country any children’s toy that contains concentration of more than 0.1 percent of di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP) or benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP).”

The same directive prohibits three more types of phthalates in “any children’s toy that can be placed in a child’s mouth that contains concentrations of more than 0.1 percent).”

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