Some Cheap Items Sold in Quiapo Streets Found Toxic

Consumer items found without lead (above) and with lead (below).
Question: What do a tiny coin purse, a colorful glass tumbler, a paint brush, a cute shot glass and pretty earrings sold in Quiapo streets have in common?

Answer: They cost very little at only P10 to P15 each, carry no product labels and contain loads of lead, a potent neurotoxin!

In anticipation of large numbers of people visiting Quiapo for the feast of the Black Nazarene, the EcoWaste Coalition, a toxics watchdog, conducted test buys of non-perishable items that are being sold by street vendors in the area. The group only bought items worth P15 and below.

The group obtained a total of 35 assorted items and subsequently analyzed them for toxic metals using a portable X-Ray Fluorescence device.

Out of the 35 samples, 23 tested positive for lead, a highly toxic chemical, with the following items registering the highest lead levels per product category:

1. All four pairs of earrings, worth P10, with over 100,000 parts per million (ppm) lead.

2.  A glass tumbler with yellow flower design, P10, with 69,100 ppm lead.

3.  A shot glass with red and orange flower design, P10, with 64,800 ppm lead

4.  An orange coin purse with inspirational text, P10, with 11,800 ppm lead.

5.  A paint brush with yellow painted handle, P15, with 5,358 ppm lead.

“The excessive lead content in the tainted samples may be attributed to the use of lead paint on the product designs and the use of lead as colorant or stabilizer in plastic vinyl materials,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

“These leaded articles may be silently contributing to lead exposure in humans as the products are repeatedly used and then disposed of,” he said.

Lead is known to exert toxic effects on the brain and the nervous system, disrupting normal brain development and causing mental retardation marked by reduced intelligence, Dizon said, stressing that “no safe level of lead exposure has been identified.”

“This is why it is important to avoid lead-containing products, especially when there are lead-safe alternatives available,” he said.

As ordinary consumers would have no way to gauge if a product has lead or not, the EcoWaste Coalition urged manufacturers to switch to non-lead materials and duly label their products as “lead-safe” upon proper certification.


For more information about lead, please refer to:


Brendon said…
Disgusting. There should be regular inspections there and quality test so that no one gets victimized by these nasty products.
-Aki Suomela