01 December 2013

EcoWaste Coalition Tells Consumers to Watch Out for Toxic Toys

 
With the onset of the Christmas month and the shopping frenzy for toys, an environmental watchdog reminded the public to keep their eyes open for kiddie products laden with toxic chemicals.

The EcoWaste Coalition issued the reminder following the publication today of paid advertisements on “Toy Safety Tips” by  the Department of Health (DOH) in some newspapers (e.g., Bulgar, Philippine Daily Inquirer), which  the group found timely but silent on the issue of dangerous chemicals lurking in many toys being sold in the market.

“In addition to the ‘do’s and don’ts’ on purchasing toys issued by the DOH, we would like to add that consumers should watch out for toys containing hazardous chemicals that can put the health and future of a hapless child at risk,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator,  EcoWaste
Coalition’s Project Protect.

Dizon’s dire warning on toxic chemicals in some toys is not without scientific basis.

The EcoWaste Coalition had earlier detected one or more toxic metals in 217 out of 450 toy samples that it procured between September to November 2013 from formal and non-formal retailers in Manila, Parañaque, Pasay and Quezon Cities.

Using an X-Ray Fluorescence spectrometer, the group found antimony, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead and mercury above levels of concern in the 217 samples, or 48% of the toys analyzed.

Out of the 217 tainted toys, 176 were found to contain lead, a brain damaging toxin, at levels way above the US limit of 90 parts per million for lead in paint and surface coatings.

Lead exposure in children via ingestion, inhalation or dermal contact can result in mental retardation, learning difficulties, lower intelligence quotient scores, growth delays and behavioral problems, as well as anemia, hearing loss and kidney injury, the EcoWaste
Coalition warned.

Dizon cited the following as top ten toy samples in terms of lead content that consumers should not patronize or give to kids:

1.  An unlabeled yellow painted play chair with “Winnie the Pooh” design with 43,100 ppm of lead.

2. A naked girl doll holding a yellow towel with 23,200 ppm of lead, 8,909 ppm chromium, 1,441 ppm arsenic and 655 ppm cadmium.

3. A black and yellow polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic boxing gloves with “SpongeBob Squarepants” design with 9,356 ppm of lead.

4.  An unlabeled rug doll with yellow PVC plastic dress with 7,014 ppm of lead.

5. A “Justice League Superman” stuffed toy with 6,735 ppm of lead, 2,415 ppm chromium, 271 ppm arsenic and 180 ppm antimony.

6. A  “Style Beauty Series” doll with 5,467 ppm of lead, 849 ppm chromium and 177 ppm arsenic.

7.  A red and green dragon with 5,207 ppm of lead.

8. A “Pocket Bola Pikachu” toy with 5,165 ppm of lead.

9.  A “Fashion Doll” wearing green PVC plastic dress with 5,027 ppm of lead.

10.  A “Ji Hua” jumping rope (green cord) with 4,279 ppm of lead.

As said by the World Health Organization (WHO), “lead exposure harms children at much lower doses, and the health effects are generally irreversible and can have a lifelong impact.”

Evidence of reduced intelligence due to childhood lead exposure has convinced WHO to list “lead-caused mental retardation” as a recognized disease.

To avoid buying toys that can pose a chemical hazard, the EcoWaste Coalition advised consumers to stay away from PVC toys that may contain lead and other toxic additives, avoid toys with strong chemical or perfumed smell and shun paint-coated toys unless certified as safe from lead.

The group further urged consumers to carefully read product labels, check for chemical safety and health information, and search for the License to Operate (LTO) number, an indicator that the toy manufacturer, importer or distributor has complied with the DOH’s documentary requirements.

DOH Administrative Order 2007-32 requires all locally produced and imported toys to state the following on their labels: a duly registered name and trademark, a model reference number, the name of the manufacturer or distributor, and the place, country and year of manufacture, as well as warnings and precautionary indications.

-end-

Reference:

http://www.who.int/ceh/publications/childhoodpoisoning/en/

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