A non-profit chemical safety watch group lauded the House of Representatives for the unanimous approval of a bill that seeks to protect children from dangerous substances lurking in some toys and other products produced and marketed for children’s use.
The EcoWaste Coalition described the approval of House Bill No. 6702, or the “Safe and Non-Hazardous Children Products Act, as lawmakers’ “Christmas gift to Filipino children of the present and future generations.”
“We commend the 17th Congress for the early approval of H.B. No. 6702, which seeks to safeguard the health and safety of all children from chemical substances that can adversely affect their growth and development,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
“We hope our good senators will follow suit and approve next year the counterpart measure (Senate Bill No. 1084) introduced by Senator JV Ejercito. The current Congress, we trust, will succeed in getting this law passed to rid the market of harmful children’s products and curb childhood exposure to perilous chemicals in such products,” he added.
“H.B. No. 6702 outlaws children’s products containing hazardous chemicals exceeding permissible levels, and places the burden of proof of product safety upon the manufacturers, importers and sellers,” he pointed out.
H.B. No. 6702 was co-introduced by Representatives Primicias-Agabas, Bravo, Canama, Macapagal-Arroyo, Roque, Salon, Yu, Sarmiento (E.M.), Agabao, Gonzales (A.P.), Nograles (K.A.), Fariñas, Biazon, Go (A.C.), Lanete, Lobregat, Alonte-Naguiat, Amatong, Aragones, Bag-Ao, Benitez, Deloso-Montalla, Escudero, Go (M.), Hofer, Lacson, Malapitan, Montoro, Paduano, Ramos, Jr., Suansing (E.), Tan, Tugna, Velasco-Catera and Villarin.
Among the chemicals deemed most harmful to children and commonly used in the manufacture of children’s products, according to H.B. No. 6702, include toxic metals such as antimony, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, lead, mercury and nickel, phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA).
“This is just an initial list as the bill requires the biennial updating of the list of hazardous chemicals in children’s products, or as soon as new chemicals are uncovered to be detrimental to children’s health and safety,” Dizon clarified.
As explained in the Fact Sheet prepared by the HoR, H.B. No. 6702, “bans the importation, manufacture, distribution and sale of children’s products that contain more than the allowable levels of the chemicals; are banned or withdrawn in the country of manufacture; are found to be injurious, unsafe or dangerous; or are non-compliant with the standards and requirements set by the relevant agencies.”
To curb the unlawful entry of non-compliant products, “imported children’s products shall be allowed entry when accompanied by Certificates of Testing or Analysis of its composition,” and “the Bureau of Customs shall require pertinent clearance or certification from the Food and Drug Administration prior to entry.”
Other key provisions of the bill include the establishment of a Children’s Product Safety Council chaired by the Department of Health and comprised of 10 government agencies and two non-government organizations.
H.B. No. 6702 penalizes violators with suspension or revocation of license to operate, seizure of products, imprisonment from one to 10 years or a fine ranging from 50 thousand to five million pesos, or both.
H.B. No. 6702 further encourages the filing of citizen suits against any person or any officer/employee of an implementing agency who violates or willfully neglects the provisions of the law and its Implementing Rules and Regulations.
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Link to H.B. No. 6702:
Link to S.B. No. 1084: