EcoWaste Coalition Laments Poor Compliance to Toy and Game Safety Labeling Act (Group finds more toys lacking proper labeling information)

Toy samples not fully compliant to RA 10620's labeling requirements.

As the National Children's Month is observed this November, an advocacy group for children's environmental health scored the poor compliance to the required labeling information on toys being sold in the market.

“We are disappointed to find more inadequately labeled toys in the retail market," said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner of the EcoWaste Coalition, stressing that "poor compliance to RA 10620 is depriving consumers with sufficient information to make informed toy product choices that will not jeopardize the health and safety of children.” 

Shrilling chicken toy banned by health authorities in the Philippines and other countries for containing banned plasticizers called phthalates.

"Some of these poorly labeled toys may contain hazardous substances that can put children at risk for injury or illness," he warned.

RA 10620, or the Toy and Game Safety Labeling Act of 2013, was enacted by Congress in recognition of children’s need for special safeguard and care against potential hazards to their health and safety from toys and games.

“Almost two years after its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) were belatedly promulgated in January 2019, it seems that adequately labeled toys are quite an exception rather than the rule until now,” observed Dizon.

Doll with a plastic component containing prohibited phthalates.

According to the law’s IRR, toy and game labels are required to carry the following information: license to operate (LTO) number issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA);  age grading; cautionary statements/warnings; instructional literature; manufacturer’s marking; and item, model, stock keeping unit (SKU) number.

For its monthly toy monitoring in October, the group purchased 44 toy products costing P10 to P450 each from retail establishments located in Makati, Pasay, Pasig and Taguig Cities.

Out of 44 toy samples, none were fully compliant to the Labeling and Packaging Requirements under Rule 1, Title II of RA 10620's IRR.  Based on the group's investigation: 
-- 13 samples were totally unlabeled;
-- 39 samples lacked the LTO number issued by the FDA;
-- 28 samples provided no age labeling information;
-- 13 samples showed no cautionary statements such as “Warning: Not suitable for children under 3 years.  Contains small parts” or its equivalent graphical symbol;
-- 28 samples provided no or incomplete name and address of the toy manufacturer or distributor; 
-- 41 samples had no item, model, SKU number; and
-- 1 sample had its labeling information written in foreign characters. 
Water gun toy labeled in foreign characters in violation of the law.

The EcoWaste Coalition also expressed its concern over the sale of plastic toys that may contain banned phthalates, which are used as plasticizers or chemicals added to plastics to make them soft or enhance their pliability. 

The group cited two plastic toy samples of concern: a Shrilling Chicken similar to the toy banned by the FDA in January 2020 for containing banned phthalates, and a doll that the EcoWaste Coalition sent to a private laboratory for analysis in 2018, which tested positive for banned phthalates.  

Health authorities in many countries, including the Philippines, have banned certain types of phthalates in toys and child care articles in concentrations greater than 0.1 percent as these chemicals can interfere with hormone functions and damage the kidneys, liver, lungs and the reproductive system.

The group will continue its pre-Christmas monthly toy monitoring to ensure consumers, especially parents, are informed and children are protected against hazardous toys in the market.