EcoWaste Coalition Cautions Shoppers against Improperly Labeled Children’s Toys

As the Christmas rush sets in, a non-profit group promoting children’s protection from hazardous products has cautioned consumers against the purchase of improperly labeled toys.

“We urge holiday shoppers to exercise caution when purchasing toys as many products sold in the market are not properly labeled contrary to the law,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition. 

Republic Act 10620, or the Toy and Game Safety Labeling Act of 2013, requires special labeling for toys and games in order to protect children against potential hazards to their health and safety from such products.

“A toy that is improperly labeled is a red flag for potential quality and safety issues.  It may indicate that the toy lacks a certificate of product notification and that it is being sold illegally,” he added.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has repeatedly warned that it cannot assure the quality and safety of toys and childcare articles that have not gone through the notification process of the agency.

Toy samples with zero labeling info
According to the FDA, the use of such non-compliant products may pose health risks to consumers, including exposure to harmful chemicals, injury, choking or suffocation due to small or broken parts.

For its monthly toy monitoring in November, the group purchased 105 toy products costing P21 to P164 each from retail establishments located in Caloocan, Malabon, Manila, Navotas and Valenzuela Cities.  The group started monitoring toys being sold in the market in September with the start of the “ber” months. 

Out of 105 toy samples, none were fully compliant to the Labeling and Packaging Requirements under Rule 1, Title II of RA 10620's IRR.  Additionally:
-- 15 samples were totally unlabeled;
-- 17 samples lacked the license to operate (LTO) number issued by the FDA;
-- 32 samples provided no age labeling information;
-- 37 samples showed no cautionary statements such as “Warning: Not suitable for children under 3 years.  Contains small parts” or its equivalent graphical symbol;
-- 87  samples provided zero or incomplete name and address of the toy manufacturer or distributor; 
-- 82 samples had no item, model, stock keeping unit (SKU) number; and
-- 11 samples had their labeling information written in foreign characters.    

Toy samples labeled in foreign characters

As per the law’s Implementing Rules and Regulations jointly promulgated by the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), toy and game labels are required to include the following information: LTO number issued by the FDA;  age grading; cautionary statements/warnings; instructional literature; manufacturer’s marking; and item, model, SKU number.

“Toy manufacturers, importers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers have the responsibility to provide the required information through proper product labeling,” Dizon said, adding that “consumers have the right to receive complete and truthful product information to enable them to make wise buying decisions.”