28 September 2017

EcoWaste Coalition Backs Quezon Service Cross for Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago


An environmental health organization has thrown its support behind a proposal urging President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to confer the country’s premier recognition to the late Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago who passed away on September 29 last year.

In a press statement, the EcoWaste Coalition expressed its support to Senate Resolutions 508 and 517 filed by Senators Grace Poe and Sonny Angara urging Duterte to nominate the late senator for conferment of the Quezon Service Cross, “the highest national recognition of outstanding civilian service in the gift of the Republic.”

“We join the senators in requesting President Duterte to bestow the award to Senator Santiago for the exemplary service she rendered as a judge, government official and legislator. Conferring the nation’s highest award to the late senator will be a recognition, too, for all women in public service as agents for change,” said Eileen Sison, President, EcoWaste Coalition. 

To date, only five Filipinos --- all men --- have received the Quezon Service Cross since it was created in 1946, namely, Carlos P. Romulo (1951), Emilio Aguinaldo (1956), Ramon Magsaysay (1957), Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. (2004) and Jesse M. Robredo (2012). 

Beyond this award, the EcoWaste Coalition urged members of the 17th Congress to honor Senator Santiago by resurrecting key environmental and health bills she filed in the 16th Congress that were not consummated.

In line with her “Pledge to Act on Toxic Chemicals to Protect Filipino Women and Children,” Senator Santiago filed at least 75 bills and resolutions in the 15th and 16th Congress addressing important chemical, product and waste issues.

Among the major bills filed by Senator Santiago that the EcoWaste Coalition would like to see revived, debated and enacted are the proposed “Pollutant Release and Transfer Registry Act,” “Total Ban on Single-Use Carryout Plastic Bags Act,” “Toxic Packaging Prevention Act,” “BPA in Baby Products Prohibition Act,” “Paint Hazard Reduction Act,” “Computer Recovery and Collection Act,“ and the “Microbeads-Free Water Act.”   

“The passage of the PRTR bill sponsored by Senator Santiago would have resulted to the establishment of a publicly accessible database that will inform communities what chemicals or pollutants are being discharged by facilities or industries, where and  how much.  Enacting such law will affirm and uphold the public’s right to know,” said campaigner Abigail Aguilar of Greenpeace, a member of the EcoWaste Coalition.  

PRTRs are catalogues or registries of potentially harmful pollutant releases or transfers to the environment from a variety of sources, including information on the nature and quantity of such releases and transfers to the air, water and soil as well as about wastes transported to treatment and disposal sites, Greenpeace explained. 

“It will be a waste if Senator Santiago’s environmental and health legislative measures like the PRTR are simply kept in the archives,” Sison said.      


Sison also recalled that Senator Santiago twice filed a resolution calling for a Senate inquiry on the illegal trash imports from Canada “to protect the country from becoming a global dump for hazardous wastes.”

-end-

Link to the “Pledge to Act on Toxic Chemicals to Protect Filipino Women and Children” signed by Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago:

Links to some of the bills filed by Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago in the 16th Congress:

Philippine Pollutant Release and Transfer Registry Act

Total Ban on Singe-Use Carryout Plastic Bags Act
 http://www.senate.gov.ph/lis/bill_res.aspx?congress=16&q=SBN-2337

Microbeads-Free Water Act
                                                         
Toxic Packaging Prevention Act
http://www.senate.gov.ph/lisdata/2164518412!.pdf

Paint Hazard Reduction Act
http://www.senate.gov.ph/lis/bill_res.aspx?congress=16&q=SBN-1807

BPA in Baby Products Prohibition Act

Mandating Employee and Patient Notifications of Environmental, Health and Safety Hazards in Hospitals Act

Groups Ask Mayor Osmeña to Abandon Garbage Incineration Plan

A multisectoral forum today urged Cebu City Mayor Tommy Osmeña to scrap his plan to erect a waste incineration facility at the Inayawan landfill site insisting it is a false solution to the city’s trash problem.
The forum led by the EcoWaste Coalition in collaboration with its member groups in Cebu was held at the main campus of the University of San Jose-Recoletos to shed light on waste-to-energy (WtE) incineration schemes touted as a “green” solution by technology vendors and proponents.


The incineration plan does not sit well with environmental, health and labor groups because it runs contrary to the waste management hierarchy of strategies that prioritizes waste prevention and reduction as the most environmentally preferred option over waste disposal such as through incineration.


“Burning waste contravenes Republic Act 9003, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, which provides for the adoption of best environmental practices in managing discards excluding incineration.  It will be wrong to think Cebu’s garbage problem will fade away by burning it.  In fact, incineration only converts a solid waste into a more hazardous type of wastes and pollutants that can pose serious risks to public health and the environment,” said Atty. Lisa Osorio of the Cebu-based Philippine Earth Justice Center.


“Gasification, plasma arc and pyrolysis waste-to-energy technologies that require waste as input to operate and make a profit will encourage more consumption of materials, more use of energy, and the generation of more waste,” stated speaker Dr. Jorge Emmanuel. 


A
 DOST Balik Scientist and an adjunct professor at Silliman University, Emmanuel is especially concerned that incinerators will not meet increasing stringent dioxin standards due to cost, lack of enforcement mechanisms, and the inability to effectively monitor and test emissions, adding there is no such thing as “clean incineration.”

He clarified that “e
ven with pollution control devices, the toxic pollutants will not disappear; they are concentrated into other media that have to be treated as hazardous waste. Importantly, ash from incinerators is toxic, heavily contaminated with dioxins and leachable metals, and under the Stockholm Convention Best Available Techniques/Best Environmental Practices (BAT/BEP) guidelines, ash requires special land disposal as hazardous waste.” 

Lea Guerrero, Climate and Clean Energy Campaigner of the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, said: “Waste-to-energy incineration will be a burden, not a boon, to Filipinos. It is the most harmful, most expensive, most polluting, most energy intensive and most inefficient way to generate electricity. Countries in the developed world are already shifting away from incineration and are now pursuing Zero Waste approaches.
The Philippines must leapfrog to Zero Waste and leave incineration behind.”


“I
t will be reckless to construct, operate and maintain incinerators that will lock our cities into decades of trash incineration when environmentally-sound, job-creating and least-costly waste management options, including formalizing the informal waste sector, remain untapped,” concluded Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.


-end-

Cebu’s Incinerator Plan Draws Flak from Informal Waste Workers





The proposed construction of a waste incinerator at the Inayawan landfill site as announced by Cebu City Mayor Tommy Osmeña has drawn flak from informal recyclers and environmentalists who assert that burning waste will hurt recycling jobs and harm ecosystems, aside from putting the health of communities at risk.  

At a workshop co-organized by the  Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippine Earth Justice Center and Sanlakas of Cebu and  the Quezon City-based EcoWaste Coalition, 120 participants, including 80 members of the informal waste sector (IWS) expressed concern over the adverse impacts of incinerating discards to their livelihood the environment, and public health.

“Many individuals, families and small businesses depend on the recovery of recyclable materials to meet our basic needs.  The waste incinerator will compete for the same materials such as paper, corrugated box, plastic and other recyclables that we collect, sort and sell,” said Aniceta Abadejao of the Gagmayng Kristohanong Katilingban – Inayawan.

“What will happen to us if the recyclable materials, our source of livelihood, are taken away from us?   Waste incineration will rob us of our only source of income and livelihood.  Is this how the city government plan to repay us for our environmental service?” she pointed out.

Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition, agreed stressing “it will be unacceptable to deny informal waste workers of useful materials for recycling-based jobs and livelihoods, which are beneficial for the climate and environment.  Instead of making life more difficult for them, the authorities should find ways and means to integrate the IWS as key partner in the implementation of the city’s waste management plan. ”

According to Lea Guerrero, Climate and Clean Energy Campaigner of the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, “recycling and other zero waste practices conserve finite natural resources, avoid fossil fuel extraction and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the use of virgin materials and from waste disposal activities.”

In contrast, waste incineration destroys resources and creates additional need to extract more of the earth’s resources. It also takes away jobs and abets climate change. Incineration is also a major source of dioxins and furans, which are recognized as cancer-causing toxic emissions.

To call attention to their plight, the informal waste workers, joined by their allies from various civil society groups, marched to the Cebu City Hall right after the workshop to present their opposition to the proposed incineration facility.

Through a petition, they told Mayor Osmeña that resorting to waste incineration will not solve Cebu City’s enormous garbage production.

“We urge Mayor Osmeña to call off his plan to set up an incinerator and to focus on comprehensive people-driven waste prevention and reduction programs, including mandatory waste segregation at source, intensive recycling and composting and inclusion of the IWS,” the groups said.

According to a UN-supported study, Cebu City generates about 500 ton of solid waste per day or approximately 182,500 tons per year with average daily waste generation per capita at 500 grams.

-end-

Reference:

http://www.waste.ccacoalition.org/sites/default/files/files/cebu_action_plan.pdf

25 September 2017

Groups Appeal: Davao City Should Junk Waste Incineration, Take On the Zero Waste Solution

Technologies that burn discards, destroy resources, weaken recycling and create extremely toxic emissions should not be employed if Davao City wants a greener and sustainable future for all.

This is the message that a citizens’ forum co-organized by the Sustainable Davao Movement (SDM) and the EcoWaste Coalition would like to resonate among the city’s policy makers and planners.  The former is a network of civil organizations in Davao City advocating for a greener and sustainable home for all Dabawenyos, while the latter is an environmental health coalition based in Quezon City.  The forum was held at the Ateneo de Davao University.

Instead of incinerating its waste, estimated at 570-600 metric tons daily, Davao City will be better off if proven approaches in preventing and reducing trash are put in force, the groups said.

“The 600-ton waste-to-energy incineration plant being mulled by the city government has to be carefully assessed against the hierarchy of waste management options that puts reduction of waste at source as the top choice,” said Mylai Santos, Director, Ecoteneo, a member of the SDM’s waste management cluster.  

“The city’s landfill has overloaded its capacity because we have failed to ensure that the generation of waste is minimized through mandatory segregation at source and other Zero Waste solutions stipulated in national and local laws,” Santos said.

Both the Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, and Ordinance 0361-10, or the Davao City Ecological Solid Waste Management Ordinance of 2009, provide for the compulsory sorting of discards at source by all waste generators, as well as the establishment of barangay-based materials recovery facilities (MRFs).
According to the City Environment and Natural Resources Office, only 17 of Davao City’s 112 barangays have MRFs such as those in Barangay Cabantian, Catalunan Grande, Hizon, Mahayag and Mintal.


Speaking at the forum, Dr. Jorge Emmanuel, a DOST Balik Scientist and adjunct Professor at Silliman University, said: “Gasification, plasma arc and pyrolysis waste-to-energy technologies that require waste as input to operate and make a profit will encourage more consumption of materials, more use of energy, and the generation of more waste.” 

Emmanuel is especially concerned that incinerators will not meet increasing stringent dioxin standards due to cost, lack of enforcement mechanisms, and the inability to effectively monitor and test emissions, adding there is no such thing as “clean incineration.”

Even with pollution control devices, the toxic pollutants will not disappear; they are concentrated into other media that have to be treated as hazardous waste. Importantly, ash from incinerators is toxic, heavily contaminated with dioxins and leachable metals, and under the Stockholm Convention Best Available Techniques/Best Environmental Practices (BAT/BEP) guidelines, ash requires special land disposal as hazardous waste,” he explained.

Lora Mc-ren Abengoza, Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition, warned “waste incineration will burn precious recyclable and compostable resources,  hurt recycling enterprises and take jobs away from the informal waste sector (IWS), depriving poor households and communities of employment and livelihood opportunities.” 


At last Saturday’s workshop organized by the EcoWaste Coalition in San Pedro College,  participants, including 99 informal recyclers from Davao City, affirmed the need to integrate the IWS in formal waste management toward clean, safe, decent and secure jobs and livelihoods.


For her part, 
Anne Larracas, Managing Director,  Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives – Asia Pacific said: “Waste-to-energy incineration will be a burden, not a boon, to Filipinos. It is the most harmful, most expensive, most polluting, most energy intensive and most inefficient way to generate electricity. Countries in the developed world are already shifting away from incineration and are now pursuing Zero Waste approaches. The Philippines must leapfrog to Zero Waste and leave incineration behind.”


-end-




24 September 2017

Davao City’s Informal Waste Workers Seek Safe and Secure Jobs



Informal waste workers of Davao City yesterday affirmed their desire to have safe and secure jobs as partners of the local government in ecological waste management.

At a forum organized by the Quezon City-based EcoWaste Coalition and held at San Pedro College, 115 participants, including 99 members of the informal waste sector (IWS), voiced the need for inclusive programs and services that will address the needs of the IWS.

“We support the aspirations of the IWS in Davao City to be able to work in a less hazardous environment and to have access to secured employment, livelihood and social services, including healthcare,” stated Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“The presence of concerned government officials at this forum, we hope, will lead to the delivery of beneficial programs and services that the IWS deserves as an undisputed partner of the society in waste resource management and conservation,” she added. 

Present at the forum were Erlinda Javines of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO), Angelic Paña of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP), and Mimia Canja of the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Region XI.


As defined in the National Framework and Strategy on the Role of the Informal Sector in Waste Management, the IWS includes “individuals, families, groups or small enterprises engaged in the recovery of waste materials either on a full-time or part-time basis with revenue generation as the motivation.”

Itinerant waste buyers, paleros (garbage trucks crew), ‘jumpers’ (those who jump into collection trucks to recover recyclables), waste pickers in dumpsites and communal waste collection points, informal waste collectors, waste reclaimers and small junkshop dealers constitute the IWS.


According to the National Solid Waste Management Commission, “the Framework Plan hopes to empower the IWS that is recognized as a partner of the public and private institutions, organizations and corporations in the promotion and implementation of the 3Rs (reduce, reuse and recycle) of solid waste management in the Philippines with the end in view of alleviating poverty.”

“The need to protect the IWS from being exposed to hazardous substances and pathogens should induce the city authorities and all waste generators to ensure that discards are properly segregated at source,” noted Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, as well as Ordinance 0361-10, or the Davao City Ecological Solid Waste Management Ordinance of 2009, require the mandatory segregation of waste at the point of generation.

The group likewise reiterated that waste disposal projects such as the planned waste incinerator in Davao City should be reconsidered as this will burn resources that can be reused, recycled or composted and subsequently steal valuable jobs from marginalized groups such as the IWS.


-end-


Reference:




23 September 2017

Groups Raise the Alarm over Continued Sale of Dangerous Skin Whitening Creams Laced with Mercury (Government Urged to Go After Importers, Distributors and Retailers of Toxic Cosmetics)

Toxic mercury taints these imported skin whitening creams from China, Malaysia, Pakistan and Taiwan that are illegally sold in some cosmetic and Chinese medicine stores in the Philippines.

Chemical safety and consumer protection groups today revealed the unabashed trade of mercury-containing skin whitening products despite being illegal to import, distribute and sell.

The EcoWaste Coalition and Laban Konsyumer, Inc. made the exposé ahead of the first Conference of Parties (COP1) to the Minamata Convention on Mercury on September 24 to 29 in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Minamata Convention, an international treaty, aims “to protect the human health and the environment from anthropogenic releases of mercury and mercury compounds.”  Among other things, it targets the phase-out of skin lightening products with mercury above one part per million (ppm).

“Contraband cosmetics containing mercury continue to be sold in several beauty product and Chinese medicine stores with their importers, distributors and retailers brazenly doing it with impunity.  Some retailers even give official receipts for illegal purchases,” observed Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

“While the Minamata Convention sets a 2020 phase-out date for mercury-containing skin lightening creams and soaps, Southeast Asian countries, including the Philippines, ban mercury in excess of 1 ppm under the heavy metal limits of the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive that were adopted in 2007,” he said.

To put an end to the illegal trade of mercury tainted cosmetics, the EcoWaste Coalition urged the government to crack down on smugglers through effective law enforcement activities.

Laban Konsyumer, Inc. echoed the EcoWaste Coalition’s call stressing the right of consumers to be protected against hazards to health and safety as guaranteed by the Consumer Act of the Philippines.
                                                                            
“We urge the authorities to prosecute those behind the illicit trade of mercury-containing skin whiteners and other cosmetics without the prerequisite product notifications.  Punishing the culprits to the fullest extent of Republic Act 9711 will send a strong message that our country is serious about protecting our consumers against mercury exposure via cosmetic use,” said Atty. Victorio Dimagiba, President of Laban Konsyumer, Inc.

RA 9711, or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Act, states that any person who violates the law shall, upon conviction, suffer the penalty of imprisonment from one to not more than 10 years or a fine of not less than P50,000 but not more than P500,000.  Stiffer penalties and fines await erring manufacturers, importers or distributors.

To draw attention to the continued proliferation of mercury-laden skin lightening products in the market,  the EcoWaste Coalition conducted test buys from September 16-21 covering 12 cities in Metro Manila and the provinces of Batangas, Bulacan, Laguna, Pampanga and Rizal. 

The group bought the non-notified imported skin whitening products from Chinese drugstores and  beauty product shops in Angeles, Antipolo, Biñan, Mabalacat, Malolos, Manila, Parañaque, Pasay, Quezon, San Jose del Monte, San Pedro and Tanauan Cities

Out of 35 products procured for P60 to P240 each and screened for mercury using an X-Ray Fluorescence device, 33 were found to contain mercury up to 46,000 ppm.

Among the samples that were found to contain over 5,000 ppm of mercury were Yudantang 6-Day Specific Eliminating Freckle Whitening Cream (with 46,000 ppm), Yudantang  10-Day Specific Eliminating Freckle Spot & Double Whitening Sun Block Cream (38,400 ppm), Parley Herbal Beauty Cream with Avocado (16,200 ppm), Parley Beauty Cream (15,100 ppm), Golden Pearl Beauty Cream (10,500 ppm), Collagen Plus VitE Day & Night Cream (7,662 ppm) and Erna Whitening Cream (5,107 ppm). 

Several variants of Jiaoli and S’Zitang, the two most commonly available imported skin whitening creams, were found to contain mercury ranging from 591 to 4,719 ppm.

Both the EcoWaste Coalition and Laban Konsyumer appealed to the governments of China, Taiwan, Pakistan and others where the mercury-containing cosmetic imports are coming from to collaborate with the Philippine authorities to halt the illegal trade.

The country’s ratification of the Minamata Convention should help in promoting closer collaboration between governments in enforcing mercury control measures, including the phase-out of mercury-added products, the groups said.

According to the FDA, “mercury salts in cosmetic products inhibit the formation of melamin in the skin, resulting in a lighter skin tone.”

“There have been cases of adverse health effects brought about by highly toxic mercury in cosmetic products, such as kidney damage, skin rashes, skin discoloration and scarring,” it warned.

“The transfer of mercury to fetuses of pregnant women may manifest as neurodevelopment deficits later in life,” the agency further warned.

The FDA has banned over135 mercury-containing skin lightening creams since 2010, including  80 brands that were discovered by the EcoWaste Coalition through its periodic market monitoring and chemicals in product analysis.

In 2015, the EcoWaste Coalition released the report “Beauty and the Risk,” co-published with IPEN (a global NGO working for safe chemicals policies and practices) showing the prevalence of mercury-tainted contraband skin whitening creams in the Philippines.

-end-

Reference:

http://www.mercuryconvention.org/

http://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/1992/04/13/republic-act-no-7394-s-1992/
                                                                                                             

”Beauty and the Risk (A Civil Society Investigation on the Prevalence of Mercury-Laden

Skin Whitening Creams in 50 Cities in the Philippines),” EcoWaste Coalition/IPEN, 2015

12 September 2017

Stop the Killing... of the Oceans: Help Put a Stop to Plastic Pollution

Amid calls to end drug-related killings, a waste and pollution watch group has called attention to another type of “killing” that has to stop now. 

The EcoWaste Coalition, in observance of the National Cleanup Month, asked the government, industry and the citizenry to stop the killing of the world’s oceans, citing the dumping of millions of tons of plastic waste that is contaminating the marine ecosystems and lethally threatening aquatic organisms.

To prevent plastics and other discards from spilling from land to water courses and bodies, the group advocating for a zero waste and a toxic-free Philippines called for the genuine enforcement of Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.

The group pressed for the active implementation of R.A. 9003 as the Manila Bay Coastal Cleanup and Brand Audit organized by various green groups gets underway from September 11 to 20 at the Freedom Island in Parañaque City.

The nine-day cleanup and audit is organized by the Break Free from Plastic Movement, EcoWaste Coalition, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Greenpeace, Health Care Without Harm, Mother Earth Foundation, Samahan ng mga Nananambakan sa Dumpsite Area,  Samahan ng Muling Pagkabuhay Multi-Purpose Cooperative, and other groups.

“As we help in picking up the garbage along the polluted coastline of Manila Bay, we want to call attention to the urgent need to enforce R.A. 9003 in all local government units (LGUs) and component barangays to curb global plastic pollution that is killing the oceans,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coaltion.

R.A. 9003, among a long list of prohibitions, forbids and penalizes littering, open burning, open dumping, the manufacture, distribution or use of non-environmentally acceptable packaging materials, and the importation of toxic wastes misrepresented as “recyclable.”

“The national and local governments, businesses and industries and all other waste generators, including the households, must strive for the ‘adoption of best environmental practices in ecological solid waste management excluding incineration’ as required by R.A. 9003 and as recommended by the United Nations,” she emphasized.

“A national legislation banning single-use plastic bags and mainstreaming eco- alternatives is one of the key environmental policies that the country needs to adopt,” she pointed out.  

The United Nations Environment Assembly, which includes the Philippines as represented by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), had pointed out that “(waste) prevention and the environmentally sound management of waste are keys to long-term success in combating marine pollution.”

The UN Environment (formerly the United Nations Environment Programme) had also recommended a ban or phase-out of thin film, single use plastic bags that choke marine life.

The EcoWaste Coalition lamented that the 16-year old R.A. 9003 remains poorly enforced with many LGUs failing to halt acts prohibited under the law from the ubiquitous littering to the non-closure of polluting dumpsites, and falling short of higher waste diversion targets.

For example, Metro Manila, which spends billions of pesos for garbage hauling and disposal, has a waste diversion rate of only 37%.  Waste diversion covers activities such as segregation at source, recycling, composting and other practices that reduce or eliminate the amount of wastes sent to disposal facilities.  

According to the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the metropolis  produces 9,499 tons of waste per day with per capita generation estimated at 0.265 to 1 kilo/person daily.  

Metro Manila’s waste is comprised biodegradable (44.32%), recyclable (31.64%), residuals (23.68) and special (0.36%) wastes. 

Plastics constitute 17.86% of waste generated in Metro Manila as per the MMDA’s Waste Analysis and Characterization Study.

-end-

Reference:

http://mmda.gov.ph/images/Home/Solid-Waste-Management-in-MM-2017.pdf

http://www.unep.org/gpa/infocus/countries-pass-second-resolution-marine-litter

http://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/1993/09/03/proclamation-no-244-s-1993/


http://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/2003/09/15/proclamation-no-470-s-2003/

10 September 2017

Groups Push for Toy Safety with the Start of the ‘Ber’ Months


As the countdown to Christmas gets underway with the start of the “ber” months, the EcoWaste Coalition (a health and environment group) and Laban Konsyumer, Inc. (a consumer protection group) jointly urged the authorities to ensure consumer access to duly labeled safe toys in the market.

The groups’ appeal came on the heels of the latest toy sampling conducted by the EcoWaste Coalition revealing extensive non-compliance to Republic Act 10620, or the Toy and Game Safety Labeling Act of 2013.

Out of the 65 toy samples recently purchased from discount shops in Divisoria and in legitimate toy stores for P20 to P180 each, 63 were found to contain inadequate labeling information, which by law will make them “misbranded” or “banned hazardous substance.”


Laban Konsyumer, Inc. and the EcoWaste Coalition have repeatedly urged the health and trade departments to issue the Implementing Rules and Regulations for R.A. 10620, which have yet to be issued four years after the law was approved on September 3, 2013 by then President Benigno Aquino III.

“The long delay in the promulgation of the IRR does not serve R.A. 10620’s goal of promoting children’s right to safe toys, especially their right to accurate and complete product labeling to facilitate informed choice,” said Atty. Victorio Dimagiba, President,  Laban Konsyumer, Inc.


The EcoWaste Coalition and Laban Konsyumer pressed for toy safety law enforcement action to ensure that kids are protected against potential dangers to their health and safety from misbranded and hazardous toys.

Some toys may pose various hazards, including blunt force injury, burn, chemical, choking, electrical, eye injury, falling, ingestion, laceration, poisoning, puncture and strangulation hazards, the groups warned.

“We appeal to the authorities to remove misbranded and hazardous toys from store shelves in line with the country’s toy regulations,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

As per R.A. 10620, toys that fail to comply with the required labeling requirements “shall be considered a misbranded or banned hazardous substance.”

“A rigorous crackdown on unsafe toys ahead of the peak season for toy shopping in December is needed to protect our children who are very vulnerable to injuries and chemical risks,” Dizon added.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, toys and childcare articles with the required product notifications should contain the following labeling requirements: license to operate (LTO) number, age grade, cautionary statements/ warnings, instructional literature, item/ model/ stock keeping unit (SKU) number, and manufacturer’s marking, including the complete name and address of the manufacturer or distributor.

An examination of the product labels revealed that out of 65 samples, only 23 have the required License to Operate (LTO) number on the label.  The authenticity of the LTO numbers provided has yet to be determined.

Of the 65 samples, only 7 provided information about their manufacturers or their local importers or distributors.

Only 2 samples were found to be completely compliant with the government’s labeling requirements for toys.

R.A. 10620 states that non-compliant toys and games “shall be withdrawn from the market at the expense of the manufacturer or importer and shall not be allowed to be distributed, sold or offered for sale in the Philippines.”

The law requires the Department of Trade and Industry to “regularly publish every six months the list of all manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers who failed to comply with the requirements” of R.A. 10620.

It further requires the Department of Health to “publish every six months the list of all misbranded or banned hazardous substances the sale, offer for sale and distribution of which shall not be allowed” under R.A. 10620.

-end-

Reference:


08 September 2017

Group Tells Parents and Kids to Steer Clear of Lead-Laced Art Materials


The EcoWaste Coalition, a non-profit watch group on toxic chemicals, products and wastes, urged the public to shun art coloring products containing lead, a dangerous substance, especially for young children.

The group issued the statement after finding a lead-containing water color set on sale in the market despite being banned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Last August 31, the FDA through Advisory No. 2017-26 warned the public against buying and using  Ultra Colours Jumbo Crayons and Xiao Yiren Water Color for containing lead above the maximum allowed limit of 90 parts per million (ppm).

This is the second time that the FDA banned a water color product for containing lead.   In 2014, it banned Artex Water Color for its excessive lead content as reported to the agency by the EcoWaste Coalition.

In test buys conducted on September 7, the group managed to purchase Xiao Yiren Water Color from a retail establishment in Sta. Cruz, Manila.

“We urge the public to steer clear of art coloring products laden with lead, a substance that is banned in the production of school supplies,” stated Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

“We also appeal to concerned manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers to strictly observe the country’s regulatory policy that seeks to protect children from preventable sources of lead exposure,” he said.

“We further appeal to all local government units and law enforcement agencies to assist the FDA in ensuring that the banned products are not sold in their areas of jurisdiction,” he added.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Administrative Order 2013-24, or the Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds, prohibits the use of lead in the manufacture of school supplies, toys, and other products.  It further sets a 90 ppm limit for lead in paint and provides for the phase-out of paints exceeding such limit.

According to the advisory signed by FDA Director General Nela Charade Puno, “lead is dangerous even at low exposure levels  producing a spectrum of injury across multiple body systems.”

“Lead affects children’s brain development resulting in reduced intelligence quotient (IQ), behavioral changes such as reduced attention span and increased anti-social behavior, and reduced educational attainment,” the FDA warned.

“Their hand-to-mouth behaviors, as well as their innate curiosity, predisposed them to put objects in their mouth resulting to unintended exposure to multiple hazardous substances such as lead,” the FDA said.

The FDA has strongly advised the public to buy and use art coloring products and school supplies that are registered/notified with the agency, supplied or distributed by FDA-licensed establishments and sold by legitimate outlets. 

Republic Act No. 9711 (the FDA Act), as well as Republic Act No. 7394 (Consumer Act of the Philippines), prohibit the manufacture, distribution, sale or offering for sale or use, advertisement, promotion, and transport, among others, of health products that are unregistered, adulterated or misbranded.

-end-

Reference:

http://www.fda.gov.ph/advisories-2/cosmetic-2/458304-fda-advisory-no-2017-260

http://www.fda.gov.ph/advisories/14-cosmetic/162436-fda-advisory-2014-044

06 September 2017

EcoWaste Coalition Slams Illegal Sale of Misbranded and Hazardous Toys in the Market (Health and Safety Advocacy Group Urges Government to Crack Down on Dangerous Toys)


As the Christmas countdown commenced with the start of the “ber” months, a health and safety advocacy group urged the authorities to crack down on dangerous toys in the market.

“We appeal to the authorities to remove misbranded and hazardous toys from store shelves in line with the country’s toy regulations,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

“A rigorous crackdown on unsafe toys ahead of the peak season for toy shopping in December is needed to protect our children who are very vulnerable to injuries and chemical risks,” he added.

The EcoWaste Coalition pressed for toy safety law enforcement action to ensure that kids are protected against potential dangers to their health and safety from misbranded and hazardous toys.

Some toys may pose various hazards, including blunt force injury, burn, chemical, choking, electrical, eye injury, falling, ingestion, laceration, poisoning, puncture and strangulation hazards, the group warned.

The group’s appeal came on the heels of its latest toy sampling revealing extensive non-compliance to Republic Act 10620, or the Toy and Game Safety Labeling Act of 2013.

As per R.A. 10620, toys that fail to comply with the required labeling requirements “shall be considered a misbranded or banned hazardous substance.”

Out of the 65 toy samples purchased from discount shops in Divisoria and in legitimate toy stores for P20 to P180 each, 63 were found to contain inadequate labeling information, which by law will make them “misbranded” or “banned hazardous substance.”

According to the Food and Drug Administration, toys and childcare articles with the required product notifications should contain the following labeling requirements: license to operate (LTO) number, age grade, cautionary statements/ warnings, instructional literature, item/ model/ stock keeping unit (SKU) number, and manufacturer’s marking, including the complete name and address of the manufacturer or distributor.

Based on the group’s scrutiny of the product labels, the EcoWaste Coalition revealed that out of 65 samples, only 23 have the required License to Operate (LTO) number on the label.  The authenticity of the LTO numbers provided has yet to be determined.

Of the 65 samples, only 7 provided information about their manufacturers or their local importers or distributors.

Only 2 samples were found to be completely compliant with the government’s labeling requirements for toys.

R.A. 10620 states that non-compliant toys and games “shall be withdrawn from the market at the expense of the manufacturer or importer and shall not be allowed to be distributed, sold or offered for sale in the Philippines.”

The law requires the Department of Trade and Industry to “regularly publish every six months the list of all manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers who failed to comply with the requirements” of R.A. 10620.

It further requires the Department of Health to “publish every six months the list of all misbranded or banned hazardous substances the sale, offer for sale and distribution of which shall not be allowed” under R.A. 10620.

The EcoWaste Coalition and Laban Konsyumer, Inc. have repeatedly pressed the health and trade departments to issue the Implementing Rules and Regulations for R.A. 10620, which have yet to be promulgated four years after the law was approved on September 3, 2013 by then President Benigno Aquino III.

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Reference:


04 September 2017

EcoWaste Coalition Finds Imported Kiddie Furniture Coated with Lead Paint, Urges Government to Seize Dangerous Products to Avoid Children’s Exposure to Lead



A watch group on toxic chemicals, products and wastes, today urged the authorities to stop the illegal sale of imported children’s chairs due to violations of the country’s lead paint standard.

The EcoWaste Coalition said the yellow surface paint on the metal frame of the children’s furniture in question contained high concentrations of lead in excess of 90 parts per million (ppm), a violation of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Administrative Order 2013-24.

The group obtained the imported products on September 2 and 4  from discount stores in Caloocan and Pasay Cities for P180 for a chair with backrest and "SpongeBob SquarePants" design and P125 for a folding chair with a "Fiore" design.

The totally unlabeled products lack the required market authorization from health authorities in the form of toy and childcare article (TCCA) notifications.

As per the group’s screening using an X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) device, the yellow paint on the metal tube frame of the chair with backrest had a total lead content of 1,171 ppm, while that of the folding chair had 1,256 ppm.

“We urge the authorities to seize these chairs marketed for children and have them returned to their manufacturer at the expense of their importer or distributor,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of  the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

“At the same time, we remind consumers to exercise their rights to be informed and to be protected against hazardous goods that may expose young children to health-damaging chemicals like lead,” he added.

The EcoWaste Coalition warned that the leaded paint on the metal frame will break or chip over time, spreading hazardous flakes and dust in the surroundings that children can ingest through their usual hand-to-mouth behavior.

DENR A.O. 2013-24, or the Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds, prohibits total lead content above 90 ppm in architectural, decorative and household paints. 

Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) Memorandum Circular 2016-010 further clarified that the use of paints with more than 90 ppm of lead in toys and children’s products, including home furnishings like chairs, shall be prohibited by December 31, 2016.

According to a report on “Childhood Lead Poisoning” by the World Health Organization (WHO), “the  consequences  of   brain  injury  from  exposure  to  lead  in  early  life are  loss  of   intelligence,  shortening  of   attention  span  and  disruption  of  behavior.”


“The  human  brain  has  little  capacity  for  repair,  these effects  are  untreatable  and  irreversible.  They cause diminution in brain function and reduction in achievement that last throughout life,” the WHO pointed out.

The WHO has warned that “children are particularly vulnerable to the neurotoxic effects of lead, and even relatively low levels of exposure can cause serious and in some cases irreversible neurological damage,” stressing “there is no known level of lead exposure that is considered safe.”

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Reference:

http://chemical.emb.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/MC-2016-010.pdf
http://server2.denr.gov.ph/uploads/rmdd/dao-2013-24.pdf

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

02 September 2017

Group Laments Five-Year Delay in the Enforcement of Manila’s Plastic Bag Ordinance


The EcoWaste Coalition, a waste and pollution watch group, bewailed the delay in the implementation of a key environmental measure that could have helped the City of Manila in reducing its garbage woe.

“This year marks the fifth anniversary of 
Manila’s plastic bag ordinance, which regrettably remains unimplemented to this day,” said Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

Manila City Ordinance No. 8282 was signed on September 3, 2012 by then Mayor Alfredo Lim.  The city government imposed a
 one-year moratorium on its implementation  to enable businesses to make the needed adjustments.

The ordinance prohibits 
the use of any form of plastic bags on dry goods and regulates their use on wet goods.

It also bans the use of polystyrene and similar materials for food, produce and other products.


“We call upon Mayor Joseph Estrada to give Ordinance 8282 the chance to help the city in cutting its plastic waste, in unclogging the esteros, and in reducing the money spent for cleanup and disposal,” appealed Alejandre.


According to 2013 Commission on Audit year-end reports, Metro Manila spent P4.221 billion in combined garbage hauling expenses, with Manila spending over P512 million.


“The unrestrained sale, use and disposal of 
plastic bags in the city contributes to the destruction of Manila Bay, which the government is striving to clean up, rehabilitate and preserve as ordered by the Supreme Court in 2008,” he noted.

“Enforcing the plastic bag ordinance will stir Manile
ños into shifting to reusable bags and containers, which will help in restoring Manila Bay and other  polluted water bodies,” he added.

Waste audits conducted at the Manila Bay in 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2016 by the EcoWaste Coalition, 
Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Greenpeace, Mother Earth Foundation and other groups revealed alarming quantities of plastic marine litter in the bay.

The waste audit conducted in 2016, for example, collected 1,482 kilos of trash, 79 percent of which were assorted 
plastic materials, comprising of junk food wrappers and sachets (20 percent), plastic bags (17 percent), composite packaging (12 percent), food packaging (9 percent), polystyrene containers (7 percent), diaper liners (7 percent), hard plastics (4 percent), drinking straw 1 (percent) and plastic twine (1 percent).

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