Toy Safety Watch Group Cautions Children vs. Hazards in Some Halloween Items

A non-profit health and safety advocacy group has cautioned the public against potential hazards in some Halloween items as kids and adults get ready for spooky fun.

As part of its toy safety campaign, the EcoWaste Coalition today warned consumers that some popular play things may pose chemical, choking, fire and laceration hazards that can spoil the Halloween fun.

“As the Halloween fad catches on in urban neighborhoods, party and event goers, especially young children, need to exercise precaution in choosing their costumes and toys as many of them have not passed through the required verification procedures by the health authorities,” stated Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

“Companies are required to apply for license to operate and product notification before placing toys and childcare articles (TCCA) in the market.  Unfortunately, many Halloween toys being sold in discount shops where many consumers go have no valid TCCA product notification,” he said.

"With the proliferation of toys in the market, parents need to pay equal attention to both the price and quality of the toys they buy for their kids. As not all toys have undergone and passed safety tests, parents should always be on the lookout for hidden dangers in some toys, such as choking and chemical hazards, that can jeopardize the health and well-being of their children," said Dr. Erle Castillo, a consultant of UP-Philippine General Hospital on Family Medicine and UP-College of Medicine on Emergency Medicine.

Among the items purchased were scary masks, devil headbands, pumpkin and skull pails, imitation weapons, and various gory Halloween accessories from fake blood to “knife thru head.”

Out of the 115 items bought, 35 have zero product labeling information.  Of the 80 items that provided varying degrees of labeling information, only one (a “Glow in the Dark” devil sickle) indicated the name and contact details of the manufacturer or distributor and its license to operate (LTO) number, the product’s model number, age grade and usage instruction, and relevant cautionary statements.

Based on the group’s assessment, some of the Halloween toys it procured are not safe for children to play with.  

Here are some examples of Halloween  toys found by the group and why such toys may present chemical, choking, fire and laceration hazards to young users:

1.  CHEMICAL HAZARD: Creepy insect toys may be coated with lead-containing paint and pose chemical risk to their young users.  For instance, the EcoWaste Coalition detected  toxic lead in the range of 139 to 481 parts per million (ppm) in 11 out of 32 toy insects screened using a portable X-Ray Fluorescence device. 

2.  CHOKING HAZARD: Some Halloween costume accessories contain small parts that kids may ingest and cause choking and suffocation.  For example, button batteries in devil headbands and other light up toys can come loose and get swallowed by a child.

3.  FIRE HAZARD.  Witch hats and horrific masks with hair are a fire risk because of their high flammability.  None of the six hats and masks with hair provided fire hazard warning.

4.  LACERATION HAZARD.  Toy axes, knives and swords can have sharp edges that can damage or injure a child’s sensitive skin.

The group also expressed concern about fake blood as the liquid may contain harmful bacteria or substances, may burn the skin and maybe mistaken as foodstuff.

The group likewise conveyed its concern over the sale of unregistered face paints in the market, which may be contaminated with lead, cadmium and other chemicals of concern.

As per RA 3720 or the Food, Drugs and Devices and Cosmetics Act, as amended by RA 9711 or the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) Act, companies intending to manufacture, import, export, distribute, sell, offer for sale, transfer, promote and advertise TCCA products must apply and secure from the FDA an LTO and 2. TCCA product notifications.



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