27 February 2015

EcoWaste Coalition Cautions the Public against Inhaling Toxic Smoke During Fires

With the onset of the annual “Fire Prevention Month,” an environmental watchdog promoting chemical safety and zero waste alerted the public about the danger of being exposed to fire smoke.

“Smoke from fires, which is made up of chemicals and particles from burning materials, is hazardous to health and should be avoided,” said Aileen Lucero, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition.

“Depending on what is burning, which is often a combination of mixed combustible materials, the smoke can cause or even worsen health problems, particularly for young children, the elderly and persons with heart and respiratory conditions and those with chemical sensitivities,” she said.

The EcoWaste Coalition aired the warning in support of the fire safety campaign being undertaken by the Department of Interior and Local Government – Bureau of Fire Protection (DILG-BFP).

“Besides reminding our communities to prevent fire at home or workplace through good housekeeping, we find it necessary for the public to be informed about the need to avoid exposure to smoke when there is a fire,” Lucero observed. 

“Oftentimes, we see victims and spectators standing close to the fire scene and directly breathing in the toxic smoke,” she added.

Aside from carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and dust particles or soot, smoke may contain a variety of air pollutants, including
acid gases, benzene, heavy metals, nitrogen oxides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, sulfur dioxide and persistent organic pollutants such as dioxins, which are formed when materials containing chlorine are burned, the EcoWaste Coalition said.

According to the World Health Organization, “air pollutants have been linked to a range of adverse health effects, including respiratory infections, cardiovascular diseases and lung cancer.”

Exposure to smoke can have immediate effects such as coughing, a harsh throat, irritated sinuses, headaches, nausea, runny nose and tearing eyes, while those with heart conditions may experience chest pain, fatigue, rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath.

n a bid to reduce the negative health consequences of exposure to smoke, the EcoWaste Coalition urged the public to consider the following health and safety suggestions:

1.  Stay away from the fire source, take precautions and avoid exposure to intense and even to low or moderate  smoke.

2.  If you are within a safe distance from a burning building, factory or residence requiring no evacuation, stay indoors and shut the doors and windows to prevent smoke from entering your place.

3.  Switch off the air conditioner until the air quality outside has improved.

4.  If you need to go outside, find a suitable respiratory protection to minimize exposure to harmful gases and particles, bearing in mind that bandannas, handkerchiefs or dust masks may not be effective in filtering out very fine particles.

5.  Refrain from cigarette smoking, which can only exacerbate pollution in the fire area.

“We hope that our fire fighters as well as rescue volunteers are properly supported with tools to keep them safe from pollution hazards inherent in their life-saving job,” Lucero said.

“It’s also important for the public to follow the instructions from the crowd control authorities and keep the streets and alleys accessible to the fire respondents,” she added.


24 February 2015

EcoWaste Coalition Finds More Unregistered Household Insecticides in the Market, Cautions Public from Using Insect Killers from China with Cypermethrin

The EcoWaste Coalition, a chemical safety and zero waste advocacy group, has cautioned the public against  using unregistered insect killers after finding six brands of household insecticides with cypermethrin as an active ingredient.

Taking its cue from the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) which recently ordered the seizure of cypermethrin-containing Baolilai, Big Bie Pai and Tianshi aerosol insecticides, the EcoWaste Coalition’s AlerToxic Patrol went to Divisoria and Santa Cruz, Manila last Friday and Saturday to look for similar insecticides imported from China that are illegally sold without authorization from the FDA.

“Apart from finding aerosol insect killers already forbidden by the FDA, we found six other brands of cypermethrin-containing insecticides that should be banned and taken off store shelves without delay,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

These six brands of imported household insecticides, sold for P75 to P90 each and packaged in tall colorful aerosol cans with net weight of 750 ml and with cypermethrin content ranging from 0.05% to 0.15% as stated on the labels, include Angel Insecticide Aerosol, Boclliai Aerosol Insecticide, Kingever Aerosol Insecticide, Kingever Insect Killer,  Power Boss Aerosol Insecticide and Txaksi Insect Killer.

In addition, the EcoWaste Coalition also found three variants of Brother Powerful Insecticide with no cypermethrin content, but like the above-mentioned insecticides had no FDA market authorization.

The group yesterday alerted the FDA of its findings through an e-mail.

“The public should know that these insecticides are dangerous to human and environmental health and should desist  from bringing them into their homes where these products can present real hazard, especially to young children,” Dizon said.

Dizon sought the cooperation of the Bureau of Customs to prevent the entry of such dangerous insecticides into the country’s ports as he called upon importers and retailers to abide by the law and discontinue the illicit trade.

Cypermethrin, according to the FDA advisory, “is a broad spectrum insecticide which kills target and non-target beneficial insects as well as susceptible animals, especially aquatic organisms.”

“Effects on test animals include, but are not limited to, reduced fertility and reproductive rate, carcinogenic and co-carcinogenic effects through topical route, and systemic genotoxicity in mammals as it causes DNA damage in vital organs,” the FDA said.

The US Environmental Protection Agency has classified cypermethrin as a possible human carcinogen.

According to a fact sheet published by the Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific (PANAP), cypermethrin is the "most frequent child chronic pesticide exposure in UK," "children have been poisoned in Nicaragua and Mexico"and that "death from contaminated food has occurred." 

In the Philippines, the UP National Poison Management and Control Center reported  that a three-year old boy accidentally sprayed himself in August 2014 with Big Bie Pai insecticide and experienced abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting.

Symptoms of poisoning with cypermethrin include dizziness, nausea, headaches, burning skin, tingling, anorexia, muscle twitching, seizures  and coma, the PANAP said.

As for its environmental effects, cypermethrin is highly toxic to fish, algae and aquatic invertebrates, as well as to bees, beneficial insects and earthworms, the PANAP said, adding that in terms of environmental fate cypermethrin is a severe marine pollutant, is persistent in soil and has the potential for bio-accumulation.


22 February 2015

Group Alarmed by the Proliferation of Smuggled Cosmetics in Divisoria Quiapo (Watchdog Cautions Consumers on Health and Safety Hazards of Using Unregistered Cosmetics)

Consumers should exercise maximum precaution when buying unregistered cosmetics, particularly in budget shops and malls, which may contain dangerous contaminants or ingredients beyond allowable limits.

The EcoWaste Coalition, a chemical safety and zero waste watchdog, sounded the alarm over the unrestricted sale of smuggled cosmetics in Divisoria and Quiapo following a recent market investigation in Manila’s must-visit places for bargain hunters.

Prompted by a fresh advisory issued by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) on three lipsticks and whitening spray with high lead content, the group’s AlerToxic Patrol last week obtained 35 samples of lipsticks costing P12.50 to P50 each from one department store and seven cosmetics retailers in the area.

“We verified through the FDA’s website if the lipsticks had the required market authorization and found out that most are not notified with the agency and therefore not authorized to be in the market,” said Aileen Lucero, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

Notified cosmetics carry the following information in English on the product label, package or leaflet: name, ingredients, net content, instruction on usage, batch number, special precautions if any, and country of manufacture and/or importer.

Among these unnotified lipsticks are Aili Kiss, Baolishi, Chanleevi, Daiyasi, Ily, Lidanxiu, Meiya, Miss Beauty, Miss Merry, Monaliza, Pure, Yan Di and one that only says “Lipstick,” the EcoWaste Coalition reported. 

In addition, the group expressed concern over the sale of the more expensive “Class A” imitations of high-end lipstick brands, particularly in Divisoria.

“The booming sale of illegal cosmetics is very alarming with the culprits enjoying virtual impunity.  This is frightening as some of these products are laden with dangerous chemicals posing serious health and environmental hazards,” she added.

“Some lipsticks are terribly toxic with astronomical amounts of lead, a potent brain and developmental toxin,” she pointed out.

For example, the group detected atrocious levels of lead, over and above the 20 parts per million (ppm) limit under the ASEAN Cosmetics Directive, in several Baolishi and Monaliza lipsticks in the range of 2,278 to 17,100  ppm  as measured by a handheld X-Ray Fluorescence spectrometer. 
Baolishi and Monaliza are among the 36 lipsticks ordered seized by the FDA in three advisories issued in 2013, 2014 and 2015 for exceeding the lead limit or for being marketed without the required authorization from the agency.  Thirty-three of these 36 lipsticks were brought to the attention of the FDA by the EcoWaste Coalition and subsequently banned.

The FDA had earlier warned that lipsticks with no market authorization “
may contain high levels of heavy metals, especially lead, a proven toxicant that accumulates in the body through constant exposure and absorption over a prolonged period.”

“ Health problems through chronic ingestion of high level of lead in lipsticks may manifest as neurologic, hematologic, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and renal problems,” the FDA warned.

“In adults, lead toxicant has been linked with high blood pressure, joint pain, poor memory, and concentration problems. Lead easily crosses the placenta, and pregnant women should pay particular attention to the different sources of lead exposure,” the FDA said.

The EcoWaste Coalition last Friday sent 10 lipstick samples to the FDA for confirmatory laboratory analysis for toxic lead and mercury.




18 February 2015

Plastic waste generation study ranks PH 3rd: The country should wake up, says EcoWaste Coalition

“A recent study on plastic wastes generated by coastal countries and entering the oceans should serve as a wake up call to the Philippine government, the industry, and the public in general after the report ranked the country 3rd.”

Zero waste and anti-plastic bag campaign network EcoWaste Coalition released this statement to the media today in relation to a study, “Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean”, which was published in the journal Science last week.

The report which placed Philippines 3rd highest plastic waste generator had China at the top followed by Indonesia.

According to the study authors, “Population size and the quality of waste management systems largely determine which countries contribute the greatest mass of uncaptured waste available to become plastic marine debris.”

“This is what we’ve been talking about for years now!,” exclaimed Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition.

“Almost fifteen years of poor implementation of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (RA 9003) and unheeded calls for national ban on the undoubtedly problematic and persistent plastic bags apparently helped a lot in putting the country at the 3rd place in the study’s embarrassing list,” added Lucero.

"We are a nation of seafarers and fishers, not sea destroyers polluting the oceans with plastics and toxics," she said. 

In 2014, during the follow up to their 2006 and 2010 waste audits of the Manila Bay, EcoWaste Coalition, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Greenpeace, and Mother Earth Foundation still found that plastics topped the list of the bay’s marine debris at 61.9%; of this, 23.2% are plastic bags.

The same group’s waste audits in 2006 and 2010 yielded similar results: among plastic products, plastic bags were the main garbage contributor in terms of volume, comprising 51.4 and 27.7 percent, respectively, of the debris in Manila Bay.

On a global scale, the “Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean” study has calculated that plastic debris reaching the oceans from 192 coastal countries in 2010 was somewhere between 4.8 and 12.7 million metric tons. The amount came from what the report estimated as “275 million metric tons (MT) of plastic waste generated in said coastal countries that year.”

Dr. Jenna Jambeck of the University of Georgia, the study’s lead author, said in a news report in a more visual way that “the quantity entering the ocean is equal to about five plastic grocery bags full of plastic for every foot of coastline in the world.”

The study suggests that some 17.5 million tonnes a year, that is 155 million tonnes between now and then, could be entering the oceans by 2025 if nothing is done to check the situation.
Whether we have a clear picture of the magnitude of the frightening impact of this marine plastic pollution, Kara Lavender Law, co-author of the study, frankly said in an interview with Science: “I don’t think we can conceive of the worst-case scenario. We really don’t know what this plastic is doing.”

Another co-author of the study, Roland Geyer, said that to clean the oceans of plastic was not likely; the only solution was "turning off the tap".



Anti-Pollution Watchdog Lauds QCCBAI for Not Blasting Firecrackers to Welcome the Lunar New Year

The EcoWaste Coalition, a waste and pollution watchdog, commended the Quezon City Chinatown Business Association, Inc. (QCCBAI) for opting not to explode firecrackers and fireworks to welcome the Year of the Green Wooden Sheep tonight.

“We laud the QCCBAI for its decision to usher in the Lunar New Year with torotot instead of firecrackers that generate hazardous air pollutants and residual solid waste,” said Aileen Lucero, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition.

“Blowing up firecracker can make air pollution soar to hazard levels as we have seen during the last New Year’s revelry,” she said.

Citing data released by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Lucero said that particulate matter PM 10 and PM 25 rose to dangerous levels in some monitoring stations in Metro Manila.

For example,  PM 10 was measured from 12 midnight to 1:00 am of January 1, 2015 at 2,000 and 1,988 micrograms per normal cubic meter at the DENR’s monitoring stations in Las PiƱas and Marikina Cities, respectively, way above the National Ambient Guideline Value of 60 mg/ncm for PM 10.

“A greener celebration without pollution suits the Wooden Sheep who loves a beautiful and clean environment,” Lucero said.

“We hope that other business establishments and associations will follow QCCBAI’s eco-decision and do away with toxic firecrackers and fireworks,” she said.

According to Willy Coyukiat, President of QCCBAI: “The celebration does not only aim to strengthen the relationship between the Chinese and the Filipino people, but above all begin an advocacy of banning fireworks during Christmas, New Year and other special occasions to
avoid environmental degradation and pollution.”

As an alternative to firecrackers, the QCCBAI will hold a "Torotot Festival" and give  cash rewards to lucky participants with the most creative torotot.




16 February 2015

12 Mindanao Mayors Urged to Clamp Down on Illegal Trade of Mercury-Laden Cosmetics

PHOTOS: Mercury-laden skin whitening cosmetics on sale in Mindanao (above), and the top ten products with highest concentrations of mercury (below).

A toxics watchdog group today urged the chief executives of 12 cities in Mindanao to clamp down on the unlawful trade of contraband cosmetics containing mercury that is taking place right under their noses.

In a press release, the Quezon City-based EcoWaste Coalition exhorted the mayors of the Cities of Cagayan de Oro, Cotabato, Davao, General Santos, Koronadal, Iligan, Malaybalay, Marawi, Tacurong,
Tagum, Valencia and Zamboanga to assist the national government in purging the market of dangerous cosmetics, particularly skin whitening creams with excessive mercury content.

The illegal trade of mercury-laden skin whitening cosmetics is rife in most of these cities and are often sold in retail outlets such as herbal and beauty product stores, Chinese drug stores and general merchandise stores just a stone’s throw away from the City Halls, the group observed.

“The market surveillance we conducted confirmed the unrestrained sale of skin whitening products banned by the health authorities for containing mercury above the permissible limit,” said Aileen Lucero, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“We appeal to the good mayors to seize the dangerous goods and castigate unscrupulous traders to protect their constituents and the environment from the toxic effects of mercury,” she said.

The Food and Drugs Administration, in line with the ASEAN Cosmetics Directive, has set 1 part per million (ppm) as the allowable limit of mercury in cosmetics.  Since 2010, the FDA has banned 116 skin whitening products for their mercury content or for being sold without the required market authorization from the agency.

To ascertain the prevalence of illegally traded mercury cosmetics in the country, the EcoWaste Coalition deployed its “AlerToxic Patrollers” to 50 cities in Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao and the National Capital Region from November 9, 2014 to February 2, 2015.

Out of the 355 samples of skin whitening cosmetics procured and screened for mercury using a handheld X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) device, 316 were found to contain mercury above 1 ppm.  139 of the 355 samples were from Mindanao with 110 of the 139 testing positive for mercury.

The top 10 samples from Mindanao with the highest concentrations of mercury include:

1.  Xuefujiaolan Herbal Whitening and Embellish Classic Set (3 small jars) from CDO, with 96,100 ppm of mercury

2.  Beauty Girl Egg White and Tomato 6 Days Specific Eliminating Freckle Whitening Cream from CDO, with 48,700 ppm of mercury

3.  Yu Dan Tang Gingseng and Green Cucumber 10 Days Whitening Speckles Removed Essence from CDO, with 48,700 ppm of mercury

4. Feique Cucumber Anti-Wrinkle Whitening Set from Zamboanga, with 25,800 ppm of mercury

5.  Zi XIn Mei Face Beauty Vegetable Red in White Series (purple and gold box) from Zamboanga, with 10,700 ppm of mercury

6.  Zi Xin Mei Face Beauty Vegetable Red in White Series (pink and white box) from Zamboanga, with 9,839 ppm of mercury

7.  Collagen Plus Vit E Day and Night Cream from Zamboanga, with 9,003 ppm of mercury

8.  Jiaoli Herbs Essence Whitening AB Set from Marawi City, with 6,758 ppm of mercury

9.  S'Zitang 10 Days Whitening & Spot Day Night Set from Zamboanga, with 5,092 ppm of mercury

10.  Erna Whitening Cream from General Santos, with 5,012 ppm of mercury

The high levels of mercury in these contraband cosmetics pose a significant health risk to users and non-users, including children and women of child-bearing age who are most prone to the toxic effects of mercury, the group warned.

According to the report “Beauty and the Risk” published by the EcoWaste Coalition, users of mercury-containing skin whitening cosmetics may experience skin discoloration, rashes and scarring and reduced skin’s resistance to bacterial and fungal infections, while repeated applications can cause damage to the brain, the nervous system and the kidneys.

For non-users, the report, citing a US health advisory, said that “the mercury spreads from the hands of anyone using the cream to other things they touch (and) then gets into the air and anyone in the home can breathe it in.” 

General signs and symptoms of mercury exposure include abdominal pain, anemia, depression, diarrhea, heart abnormalities, muscle cramps, nausea, nervousness, numbness or tingling in hands, feet, or around the lips, pink hands and feet, tremors, and weight loss,


15 February 2015

Be Wary of Chinese New Year Lucky Charms with Toxic Chemicals


A watchdog group for chemical safety and zero waste has reminded consumers to be careful when buying lucky charms and enhancers after finding some items laden with toxic chemicals.

In a bid to promote consumer awareness on hazardous chemicals in products, the EcoWaste Coalition over the weekend bought 20 Chinese New Year good luck charms and ornaments and had them screened for toxic metals using a portable X-Ray-Fluorescence (XRF) device.

The samples, costing P20 to P250 each, were procured from specialty stores and sidewalk vendors in Binondo and Quiapo, Manila. 

As per XRF screening, 13 of the 20 samples were found to contain elevated quantities of lead, arsenic and chromium, 3 had high levels of antimony and 1 had excessive amount  of cadmium , the EcoWaste Coalition reported.

Arsenic, cadmium and lead are among the “top ten chemicals of major public health concern” according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

“Exposure to these toxic metals has been associated with a range of health issues from reproductive disorders, birth defects, developmental delays, hormonal imbalances, heart ailments, neurological problems to cancers,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

“Lead exposure, in particular, has been linked to aggressive, delinquent and destructive behavior,” said Dizon, citing studies connecting childhood lead exposure to crime and violence later in life.

“Ironically, many Filipinos unsuspectingly buy such potentially dangerous lucky charms and amulets for good health and for long, trouble-free life,” he added. 

“None of the items analyzed had complete product labeling information, including chemical information to warn buyers of possible chemical hazards,” he noted.

Dizon attributed the toxicity of most samples to the use of leaded paint, particularly on the yellow coatings with lead exceeding the 90 parts per million (ppm) limit for lead in paint and surface coatings under the US Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.

He noted that all the items with high levels of lead also had high levels of arsenic and chromium.

“While not originally made for children’s use, it’s not improbable for lucky charms and amulets to get into the hands of a curious kid who may bite, mouth or even accidentally ingest the toxic items, some which, like the lucky coins, are small enough to be swallowed,” he said.

Health experts had warned that lead exposure among children even at low levels can interrupt and damage brain development and cause lifelong learning and behavioral problems, while exposure among adults can bring about miscarriage in women, reduced sperm count in men, hypertension and other health problems.

The top seven "unlucky charms" with the highest lead content include:

1.  A “Lucky Dragon Amulet” with Chinese character to bring good fortune, with 7,920 ppm.
2.  A frog sitting on a lotus leaf refrigerator magnet lucky charm, with 7,336 ppm
3.  A dragon refrigerator magnet lucky charm,  with 5,693 ppm
4.  A “Wu Lo Amulet” with “Medicine Buddha” mantra for good health, with 4,090 ppm.
5.  A goat with pineapple figurine, with 3,861 ppm
6.  A “Double Fish Lucky Coin” for prosperity, with 3,100 ppm
7.  A “Door Fu” to welcome wealth, with 2,555 ppm

A colorful set of “Three Wise Men” figurines had varying levels of lead.  On the other hand,  three “good luck” goat figurines had no detectable lead, indicating the viability of making lucky charms without harmful lead.

To avoid lead exposure, Dizon advised consumers to avoid lucky charms with painted coatings unless certified as lead-safe.

Alternatively, Filipinos who are planning to welcome the Chinese New Year of the Green Wooden Sheep may wish to try safer ways of attracting good energy, fortune and health, he said, including praying hard and working harder, and boosting good karma by doing good deeds.


14 February 2015

Cebu City Government Urged to Stop Illegal Trade in Mercury-Laden Cosmetics

An environmental group based in Quezon City has appealed to the Cebu City Government to take action against vendors of contraband cosmetics laden with mercury, a toxic chemical.

Through a press release, the EcoWaste Coalition requested the office of Cebu Mayor Michael Rama to help the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) in enforcing the prohibition against the sale of skin whitening cosmetics with mercury content exceeding 1 part per million (ppm).

“We appeal to Mayor Rama to mobilize the city’s health and police inspectors in an all-out drive to have illegal mercury-containing cosmetics removed from store shelves,” stated Aileen Lucero, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

Citing information from the World Health Organization, Lucero said that human exposure to mercury in skin whitening products may cause “kidney damage, skin rashes, skin discoloration and scarring, as well as a reduction in the skin’s resistance to bacterial and fungal infections.”

The group last Thursday released a report entitled “Beauty and the Risk,” indicating the unrestrained sale of mercury-tainted skin whitening products in 50 cities across the country, including Cebu and Lapu-Lapu Cities.

Out of the 355 samples procured by the group from Baguio to Zamboanga, 25 were obtained from Cebu and Lapu-Lapu, mostly from beauty product stores and general merchandise stores in Colon St.  The FDA had already banned most of these products and would be illegal to sell.

Subsequent analysis of the samples using an X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) device detected mercury above 1 ppm in 316 samples.  All samples from Cebu were found laced with mercury up to 5,969 ppm.  Of the 25 samples from Cebu, 22 had mercury above 1,000 ppm.

Among the top seven brands in terms of mercury content were:
1) Jiaoli
Speckle Dispelling and Whitening Cream, 5,969 ppm

2) Miss Beauty Magic Cream, 5,295 ppm,

Shengniya 7 Day Freckle Eliminating, 5,310 ppm

Women of Flower Whitening and Spekle Removing A and B Series, 4,908 ppm

5) Young Grace Age Defying Essence, 4,773 ppm

S'Zitang 10 Days Whitening and Spot Day Night Set, 4,761 ppm

7) Huayuenong
12 Days Whitening and Spekle Removing Wreckling Set, 4,669 ppm

The EcoWaste Coalition expressed optimism that the new data would prompt the Cebu City Council into fast tracking its deliberation and approval of a proposed ordinance authored by
Councilor Nida Cabrera to curb the illegal trade of cosmetics laced with toxic mercury in the city.

“The proposed measure, we believe, would deter unscrupulous traders from selling smuggled cosmetics that could put the health and safety of Cebuanos at grave risk,” Lucero added.    

The said draft ordinance, if adopted, would prohibit the following:  

“a) The manufacture, importation, marketing and promotion, distribution and sale of cosmetics with mercury in excess of 1 ppm as set by the FDA.”

“b) The sale, wholesale or retail, of cosmetics that have not been authorized by the FDA as required by R.A. 9711.”

“c) The sale, wholesale or retail, of cosmetics that have not complied with the labeling requirements implemented by the FDA.”

“c) The open dumping, open burning and/or disposal of banned, recalled and/or confiscated mercury-containing cosmetics in regular municipal solid waste.”

The ordinance would also provide for the suspension of business license or permit of non-compliant establishments, as well as penalties and fines for violators.