As we get closer to the Christmas holiday, the EcoWaste Coalition, a non-profit advocacy group for children’s and environmental health, urged consumers to refrain from purchasing improperly labeled and unsafe toys.
The group’s latest toy safety reminder came on the heels of a recent advisory by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) saying that toys and child care articles (TCCAs) lacking the required labeling information are deemed “misbranded or banned hazardous substances and shall not be allowed to be distributed or sold in the market.”
“To protect vulnerable children against hazardous toys, and to encourage industry-wide compliance to toy safety standards and labeling regulations, we advise consumers to pick toys that are compliant to what the law requires. Stronger consumer demand for adequately labeled safe toys will compel toy manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers to abide by the law, or lose customers and profits,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition
As per FDA Advisory No. 2019-486, TCCAs are considered “misbranded” or “banned hazardous substances” if the following information are not duly indicated on the label: 1) License to Operate number issued by FDA; 2) age grading; 3) cautionary statement/warnings; 4) instructional literature; 5) manufacturer’s markings (name and address of the local company); and 5) item model /stock keeping unit (SKU) number.
The said advisory is in line with Republic Act 10620, or the Toy and Game Safety Labeling Act of 2013, which seeks to protect children against potential hazards to their health and safety by requiring special labeling of toys and games.
“As children are prone to various environmental and health risks, we urge toy givers to watch out for toys in the market that may expose a child to harmful chemicals or cause choking, skin cuts and abrasions, strangulation and injuries to the eyes and ears,” Dizon said.
For a safer toy gift-giving this Christmas, the EcoWaste Coalition urged consumers to pay attention to the following reminders:
1. Select age-appropriate toys.
2. Choose durable and well-made toys.
3. Reject toys with small parts to lessen the risk of choking.
4. Avoid toys with a cord longer than 12 inches to prevent strangulation incidents.
5. Steer clear of toys with pointed parts, sharp edges and those that can eject small objects.
6. Avoid painted toys unless certified as lead-safe.
7. Shun toys made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic, which may contain toxic additives.
8. Refrain from buying toys that are packed in too much layers of wasteful plastic wrappers.
9. Shop for duly labeled and FDA-notified toys.
To see TCCAs that are duly notified with the FDA and are distributed by FDA-licensed manufacturers, traders and distributors, please go to this site.
"Gift givers may also consider giving non-toy gifts that could, for example, help kids to explore their creative talents, get them more excited to read and gain new knowledge, or make them healthy and fit," the EcoWaste Coalition added.