Letter to DOH Sec. Janette Garin and FDA OIC Nicolas Lutero III re Children's Swimming Toys in Violation of DOH A.O. 2009-0005-A

20 April 2015

Hon. Janette Garin
Secretary, Deparment of Health

Hon. Nicolas Lutero III
Assistant Secretary, Department of Health
OIC, Food and Drugs Administration

Dear Friends,

Subject: Children’s Swimming Toys in Violation of DOH A.O. 2009-0005-A

Greetings from the Ecological Waste Coalition of the Philippines, Inc. (EcoWaste Coalition).

We write to bring to your kind attention the results of the laboratory tests contracted by the EcoWaste Coalition on inflatable plastic swimming toys that are enjoying brisk sales during the sweltering summer period.

As part of our Project Protect, which, among other things, seeks to enhance human and ecological health against harmful chemical substances, we bought four swimming toys from legitimate retailers and have these samples analyzed for phthalates by SGS, a global testing company.

The samples were analyzed through gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS) as required in the “Standard Operating Procedure for Determination of Phthalates” of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.

As you will see in the attached documents, three of the samples failed the phthalate regulation under  the US Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which is similar to the DOH Administrative Order 2009-0005-A (amended in December 2011), which states.

1.  “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).”

2.  “It shall be unlawful to manufacture for sale, offer for sale, distribute in commerce, or import into the country any children’s toy that can be placed in a child’s mouth that contains concentrations of more than 0.1 percent of diisononyl phthalate (DINP), diisodecyl phthalate (DIDP), or di-n-octyl phthalate (DnOP).”

Summary of laboratory findings:

Sample No.
Product Description
Place of Purchase
Phthalate Content
PHL 15-01663-0004
ABCD Series Swim Arm Ring (blue)
Isetann Department Store
Carriedo St., Manila
19.4% DEHP
PHL 15-01663-0005
Chi Sung Ring Inflatables (orange/yellow)
Isetann Department Store
Carriedo St., Manila
PHL 15-01663-0006
Jilong Pump Up Possibilities Step B Swim Kid (yellow)
SM Department Store
Quiapo, Manila
PHL 15-01663-0007
Yiwu Little Angel Toys Baby Boat Inflatable (blue)
Isetann Department Store
Carriedo St., Manila
To enforce DOH A.O. 2009-0005-A and to protect children from being exposed to phthalates, we call on the DOH to cause the ban and withdrawal from the market of the above three samples that failed the laboratory tests.

We also humbly urge the DOH to fully maximize the FDA’s laboratory capability to analyze for phthalates  by embarking on an upbeat drive to test certain products for phthalate content in time for the school opening in June 2015.  This will mean the FDA undertaking market inspection, particularly in Divisoria, and sampling children’s products such as back-to-school items.  For starters, the FDA can analyze PVC bags, PVC raincoats and PVC school supplies. 

A proactive effort to test children’s products for phthalates (as well as for other priority chemicals of concern such as lead, cadmium and mercury) would send a strong message to producers, retailers and consumers that the Aquino administration is taking children’s safety from hazardous substances a priority concern.  Such a drive, we believe, will also push companies to follow the government’s toy safety regulations, disclose chemical information and adopt clean production practices such as  toxics use reduction and substitution.  

The “Introduction to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs): A Guide for Public Interest Organizations and Policy Makers,” published by the Endocrine Society and IPEN in December 2014, states that “phthalate exposure is linked to genital abnormalities in boys, reduced sperm counts, decreased ‘male typical’ play in boys, endometriosis, and elements of metabolic disruption including obesity.”  The Endocrine Society is the world's oldest, largest, and most active organization devoted to research on hormones and the clinical practice of endocrinology, while IPEN is a global network of public interest groups promoting safer chemical policies and practices.

The EcoWaste Coalition will support precautionary and preventive measures to be undertaken by the DOH and FDA to protect our children and people from being further exposed and harmed by phthalates and other endocrine disrupting chemicals.

Thank you very much and warmest regards.

Sincerely yours,

Thony Dizon
EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect


Hon. Agnette Peralta
Center for Device Regulation, Radiation Health and Research
Food and Drugs Administration