EcoWaste Coalition Warns against Dangerous Chemicals that may be Lurking in Fake "Frozen" Dolls

Counterfeit Anna and Elsa dolls, inspired by the highest-grossing animated film “Frozen, that many girls presumably received as gifts last Christmas may be tainted with hazardous chemicals and not safe to play with.

The EcoWaste Coalition, a staunch advocate for “kid-safe toys for zero harm and zero waste,” revealed that British trade regulators last month seized and destroyed thousands of fake Frozen dolls for containing toxic phthalates, which are synthetic chemicals used to soften or plasticize polyvinyl chloride (PVC) products.

According to recent news reports, UK’s “trading standards officers warned dangerous copies of Disney’s best selling Snow Queen Elsa, who belts out the number one chart smash ‘Let It Go,’ pose a serious health risk to youngsters.”

“The seizure and destruction of fake and dangerous Frozen dolls in UK should serve as a warning to Disney-loving Filipinos as the sale of imitation Anna and Elsa dolls goes unchecked in Divisoria, as well as online,” Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

Based on the market monitoring conducted by the EcoWaste Coalition yesterday,  phony Anna and Elsa dolls with snowman Olaf are sold in Divisoria under various brand names such as “Disney Frozen,” “Fashion Freeze,” “Fashion Frozen,” “Frozen,” “Girl Snow,” “Happy Doll Collection,” “Happy Every Day,” “Magic Snow” and “Sweet Fashion.”

“One product even misspelled ‘Disney’ as ‘Disnesy,’”  Dizon added.

The unauthorized Disney products imported from China bear incomplete product labeling information, particularly with respect to their manufacturers and chemical composition.

He explained that kids mouthing, sucking or chewing on the tainted dolls may directly ingest phthalates, which are known to disrupt hormone functions and cause an array of health problems from asthma, reproductive disorders to cancers.

“Infants and young children are most vulnerable to phthalate exposure because of their usual hand-to-mouth manners, and because their vital organs are not yet fully formed and less able to cope with toxins.  To protect children’s health, phthalates in toys and childcare articles are severely restricted in many countries,” he said.

In Europe, for example, close to 300 plastic dolls were withdrawn from the market from 2013 to date for violating the European Union’s restrictions on phthalates as per EU's Rapid Alert System (RAPEX) for non-food dangerous products.

“Our country also limits phthalates in toys.  However, we have yet to hear a single case of toy ban or recall due to excessive phthalate content despite the availability of PVC toys in the local market,"  Dizon said.

Under the Department of Health Administrative Order 2009-0005-A as amended in 2011, “it shall be unlawful for any person to manufacture for sale, offer for sale, distribute in commerce, or import into the country any children’s toys that contains concentrations  of more than 0.1 percent by weight of (phthalates) DEHP, DBP or BBP.”

Also, the A.O. bans the sale of “any children’s toys that can be placed in a child’s mouth that contains concentrations of more than 0.1 % by weight of (phthalates) DINP, DIDP or DnOP.”

To avoid childhood exposure to phthalates, the EcoWaste Coalition urged toy manufacturers, importers and distributors to switch to phthalate-free non-PVC toys, and to properly label their products to assist consumers in making sound purchasing decisions.

To push for toy safety reforms, the EcoWaste Coalition likewise appealed to consumers to be questioning when making toy purchases, shun dangerous and toxic toys, and opt for duly registered, tested and truthfully labelled toy.