Overwhelming Majority of Toy Samples Poorly Labeled
|Group photo of toys sampled for the study. ECOWASTE COALITION|
The overwhelming majority (87%) of the 70 toy samples purchased by the EcoWaste Coalition from retail outlets in Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas and Valenzuela (CAMANAVA) Cities are poorly labeled.
The group revealed that for its toy sampling this October, which is observed as the Consumer Welfare Month as per Proclamation No. 1098, only nine of the 70 samples meet the labeling requirements under Republic Act 10620, or the Toy and Game Safety Labeling Act, and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).
Enacted in 2013, RA 10620 seeks to “ensure the protection of children against potential hazards to their health and safety by requiring special labeling of toys and games,“ which include objects clearly intended as a plaything for children below 14 years of age.
“The dismal compliance to the mandatory labeling requirements as stipulated in RA 10620 and its IRR is an outright denial of the fundamental right of consumers to be informed,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
“Toy manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers need to provide consumers with essential labeling information that can assist them in making an informed choice,” he said, further stressing that “consumers should also have access to information on hazardous chemicals in products, especially toys and other items sold for children’s use,” he added.
As reiterated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the lead agency regulating toy and child care articles (TCCAs), through Advisory No. 2020-2022, the following mandatory information must appear on the toy label:
- License to Operate (LTO) Number issued by FDA;
- Age grading;
- Cautionary statement/warnings;
- Instructional literature;
- Manufacturer’s markings with complete name and address of the local company; and
- Item model/stock keeping unit (SKU) number
The FDA in the same advisory emphasized that the label must be generally written in English. Otherwise, a parallel translation in English or Filipino or both must be provided. The label must also be in a visible, easily legible, understandable and indelible form, the agency further clarified.
Based on the toy sampling conducted by the EcoWaste Coalition in CAMANAVA Cities, 61 of the 70 samples failed the mandatory labeling requirements:
- 61 samples lacked the required LTO Number
- 30 samples provided no age grading
- 25 samples failed to indicate precautionary warnings
- 55 samples furnished no instructional literature
- 52 samples did not have manufacturer’s markings
- 47 samples did not indicate item model/SKU number
Additionally, the group found 7 samples with no label at all. The group also found 12 samples with labeling information in foreign characters (i.e., in Japanese characters).
Despite the public health warnings issued by the FDA, the group also managed to buy unauthorized "Shrilling Chicken," "Beyblade Metal Masters" and "Avengers 4 Super Power Heroes." The FDA through Advisory Nos. 2020-042, 2021-1773 and 2021-1416 had warned concerned establishments not to distribute the violative toys until they have fully complied with the necessary rules and regulations.
Echoing the advice made by the FDA, the EcoWaste Coalition urged consumers to be vigilant in buying TCCAs as gifts for children during the yuletide season by examining a product’s compliance to the labeling information as stated in RA 10620.
The group has so far sampled 105 toys since the launch of its toy safety monitoring project in September. Aside from CAMANAVA Cities, the group had obtained samples from toy retailers in Makati, Mandaluyong, Manila, Taguig, and Quezon Cities.
The group pledged to conduct further toy sampling in the lead up to Christmas 2021.