27 July 2017

EcoWaste Coalition Flags Choking and Fire Hazards from Popular but Unauthorized Hand Spinners

Assorted hand spinners, also known as fidget spinners, being sold by a street vendor along Recto Avenue in Divisoria, Manila. (Photo by EcoWaste Coalition)

As the price of fidget spinners drops from over P100 to as low as P20 in Divisoria, a health and environmental watch group was quick to warn the public against the potential harm from using toys that have not passed quality and safety procedures. 

The non-profit EcoWaste Coalition issued the precautionary warning after choking and fire incidents were reported in US, and after Latvia and Luxembourg banned the marketing of certain hand spinners for non-compliance to the European Union’s Toy Safety Directive.

“The big drop in prices will attract more consumers to buy fidget or hand spinners for their young ones to play with.  Unfortunately, most of these toys lack the required market authorization from the country’s toy regulator,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

Republic Act 9711, or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Act of 2009, prohibits, among other things, the sale of toy and childcare article (TCCA) products without the proper authorization in the form of TCCA Notifications.

“We searched the FDA website and found that only one company has market authorization for hand spinners for children above three years old.   This means that hand spinners being sold by sidewalk vendors and other informal retailers, including those being offered online, have not gone through the FDA’s verification process so their quality and safety cannot be assured,” Dizon said.

“We remind parents to be extra careful when buying popular hand spinners as their popularity does not necessarily mean that these toys are harmless.  Please choose age-appropriate toys for your kids that pose no choking, chemical and other safety hazards,” he added.  

In Latvia and Luxembourg, fidget spinners with battery-powered LED modules were rejected at the border, banned, withdrawn from the market or recalled from end users because of choking hazard as 
“the battery compartments can easily be opened without the use of any tools and the button cells inside are easily accessible.” 

“Children might put them in the mouth and swallow them, causing damage to their gastrointestinal tract,” toy authorities warned.


In US, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is investigating reports from Texas and Oregon of children choking and being rushed to the hospital due to the ingestion of small parts of fidget spinners.


Last May, a 10-year old girl from Texas was taken to surgery to endoscopically find and remove one of the bearings of her fidget spinner that she accidentally swallowed and got stuck in her esophagus.
 
The CPSC is also investigating cases of electronic fidget spinners bursting into flames while charging.

-end-

Reference:

Company with TCCA Notification for Hand Spinner Toy:
http://www.fda.gov.ph/search-result?searchword=hand%20spinner&searchphrase=all

To read the “Public Health Warning Against the Use of Toys and Childcare Articles (TCCA) Products With No FDA Certificate of Product Notification,” please see:
http://www.fda.gov.ph/advisories-2/cosmetic-2/347686-fda-advisory-no-2016-074


http://health.usnews.com/wellness/health-buzz/articles/2017-05-18/a-10-year-old-girl-in-texas-choked-on-a-fidget-spinner

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