21 October 2017

Many Toys Sold in Cebu Improperly Labeled (Group Pushes Proper Toy Labeling to Ensure Children’s Safety)

 Inadequately labeled toys bought in Cebu City
 Toy samples with high lead content
 Not properly labeled mini grow-in-water toys
Toy ukuleles decorated with lead-containing paints

As the observance of the Consumer Welfare Month draws to a close next week, a non-profit watch group called attention to toys sold in Cebu that lack the required product labeling information.

“We bought assorted toys from various retail outlets in Cebu and Lapu-Lapu Cities to check on their compliance with the required labeling information, which is very important to guide consumers on picking the right toy for a child that will not pose risk to her or his health and safety,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

The toy products, costing P25 to P200 each, were obtained by the group from toy and souvenir stores in Cebu and Lapu-Lapu Cities on September 28 to 29, 2017.

The toys were brought to the office of the EcoWaste Coalition in Quezon City for product label examination and for heavy metal screening using an X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) chemical analyzer.  

Out of 79 toy samples, only three were found to be compliant with the mandatory toy labeling information required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency that oversees the product notification scheme for toy and childcare articles (TCCas).

As per FDA Circular 2014-023, duly notified TCCAs should contain the following product labeling labeling information: 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.

Of the 79 toy samples, 15 were found to contain lead, a toxic chemical that can have serious effects for the health of children, above the regulatory limit of 90 parts per million (ppm).

High lead concentrations were detected on unlabeled toy ukuleles and fridge magnet toys.  The paint coating of a mango-shape toy ukulele had 12,300 ppm of lead, while the paint coating of a fridge magnet toy had 7,092 ppm of lead.   

The group also found three mini grow-in-water toys, which are not properly labeled and which are dangerous if swallowed by children.

“The use of lead-containing paints to decorate toys is a brazen violation of the country’s lead paint regulation,” Dizon said.

DENR Administrative Order 2013-24, or the Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds, strictly prohibits the use of lead paint in the production of toys, among other things.

Improperly labeled toys should not be offered for sale in the market if only Republic Act 10620, or the Toy and Game Safety Labeling Act of 2013, is enforced, the EcoWaste Coalition said.

Under the said law, toy products “not in compliance with the requirements of this Act shall be considered a misbranded or banned hazardous substance… and withdrawn from the market.”
   
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.”

Approved in September 2013, R.A. 10620 requires the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to “regularly publish every six months the list of all manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers who failed to comply with the requirements” of this law.

It further requires the Department of Health (DOH) 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.

To date, the DTI and DOH have yet to promulgate the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of R.A. 10620.

“We hope concerned groups in Cebu and elsewhere will join us in demanding the promulgation of R.A. 10620’s IRR for the health and safety of our children as toy consumers,” Dizon said.

The EcoWaste Coalition and Laban Konsyumer, Inc., a consumer protection group,  have been asking the authorities to release the much-delayed IRR toward the full enforcement of R.A. 10620.

-end-

Reference:

http://www.lawphil.net/statute s/repacts/ra2013/ra_10620_ 2013.html

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