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.”