EcoWaste Coalition Finds Phone Cord Holders Cute, But Toxic

The EcoWaste Coalition, a chemical safety and zero waste advocacy group, alerted consumers against buying counterfeit China-made “Disney” cord holders for cell phones, laptops, tablets, USBs and other e-gadgets.

The cord holders are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic as indicated on the labels, sold for P35 per set by street vendors in Divisoria, Manila and are available in various cartoon creatures.

As per chemical screening using an X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) device, lead, a toxic chemical, was detected in all but one of the 15 samples up to 5,616 parts per million (ppm). 

“Cord holders are not toys, but accessories to keep power cords from getting tangled.  But they could e
asily pass as toys to imaginative and playful children because of their small size, light weight and beautiful cartoon designs,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

“The unauthorized use of cute and popular Disney characters from ‘Avengers,’ ‘Frozen’ and ‘Toy Story’ make these cord holders a sure hit for kids,” he added.

Among the iconic cartoon figures adorning the trendy cord holders are Batman, Princess Elsa, Pluto, Spiderman, Superman, Winnie the Pooh, Wolverine and Woody.
“The products are obviously fake with zero information about their manufacturer, importer or distributor, and the glaring grammatical and spelling errors on the labels,” he pointed out.

Lead is a chemical poison that can harm the brain and the central nervous system and damage other body organs, with children under six most at risk, Dizon said.

“Young children may chew on the toy-like cord holders and ingest the lead and other chemicals of concern present on the material,” he said, stressing that “health authorities have determined no known acceptable lead exposure level for children.”

“As a safety measure, we advise those who have already bought such cord holders to keep them out of children’s sight and reach,” he stated.
Aside from the lead content, the EcoWaste Coalition warned that PVC cord holders may contain other hazardous additives such as phthalates.

Phthalates are synthetic plasticizers or softening agents used in the manufacturing of vinyl plastic.

Classified as endocrine disrupting chemicals or EDCs, phthalates have been blamed for genital deformities such as deformed penises and undescended testicles, for developmental abnormalities such as cleft palate, for the early onset of puberty and other health problems, including cancer.

As per Department of Health Administrative Order 2009-0005-A, phthalates DEHP, DBP and BBP are prohibited in children's toys, while phthalates DINP, DIDP and DnOP  are prohibited in toys that can be placed in a child’s mouth, in amounts exceeding the 0.1 percent limit by weight.