Toxic chemicals found in toy samples in DivisoriaWednesday, September 12, 2012 08:35 AM Views : 126GMA News
With the Christmas shopping season drawing closer, an ecological group on Wednesday claimed to have found toxic chemicals in at least 74 toy samples being sold in Manila's busy Divisoria district.
The EcoWaste Coalition said the toys are popular because of their low prices —from P10 to P100— but contain toxic metals "above levels of concern."
It also noted the labels of 148 of 150 samples it collected did not indicate their manufacturers had a license to operate, and none of the samples provided complete product information, including their chemical composition.
“The sampling data will be transmitted to the authorities to assist them in undertaking essential regulatory interventions, including the issuance of toy safety advisories and recall orders, to protect our children’s health,” said the group's Project Protect coordinator Anthony Dizon.
Dizon added the group will do the inspection monthly until December in different locations.
EcoWaste said it collected the samples were obtained from September 8 to 10, from toy wholesale and retail shops located at 11/88 Shopping Mall, 168 Shopping Mall, 999 Shopping Mall, New Divisoria Center, Tutuban Center Prime Block Shopping Mall and Tutuban Corner Store.
It used a handheld X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) spectrometer to screen for heavy metals.
The group found 54 sample with elevated levels of lead up to 14,100 parts per million (ppm), way above US lead in paint limit of 90 ppm.
Other metals found in some of the toys sampled include antimony, arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium and mercury.
It said toys with the highest concentrations of lead were a "Wonderful Voice" xylophone with 14,100 ppm, an “Angry Birds” bookmark clip with 6,484 ppm, a baby doll with 5,638 ppm, an “Angry Birds” wrist strap with 3,976 ppm and a “Ben 10” wrist strap with 3,363 ppm.
"Lead is a neurotoxin that is exceptionally bad for young children and whose health effects are often permanent. Health scientists have recognized that there is no safe threshold for lead exposure, especially for children," the group said.
It added lead exposure through ingestion, skin contact or inhalation in the form of dust can cause mental retardation, learning disabilities, decreased intelligence quotient scores, growth delays and behavioural problems among children.
Lead exposure is also linked to anemia, hearing loss and kidney damage, the group added.
Pediatric toxicologist Bessie Antonio said children are most susceptible to absorbing lead because they tend to put their hands and other objects such as toys into their mouths.
Mercury, other metals
Meanwhile, mercury - a highly toxic substance - was discovered in four children’s makeup sets in the range of 2.7 to 326 ppm, way above the government’s 1 ppm limit.
Chromium, which can potentially be carcinogenic, was found in 14 samples from 97 to 2,685 ppm (a baby doll).
Cadmium, a possible human carcinogen, was found in eight samples from 196 to 954 ppm (the same baby doll).
Arsenic, a human carcinogen, was found in nine samples from 34 to 1,474 ppm (a xylophone).
Antimony,a suspected carcinogen, was detected in 28 samples from 66 to 11,900 ppm (a lizard squeeze toy).
Barium, another chemical of concern, was detected in 11 samples from 1,141 to 6,811 ppm (a child lipstick with 2,687 ppm).
Other health violations
The group said other violations of the Department of Health (DOH) Administrative Order 2007-0032 to regulate toys sold or given free in the Philippines included:
148 samples had no license to operate issued by the DOH’s Bureau of Health Devices and Technology (BHDT).
All 150 samples provided either zero or incomplete product information, including a duly registered name and trademark, a model reference number, the name of the manufacturer or distributor, place, country and year of manufacture, directions for use, precautionary indications and warnings.
EcoWaste urged the toy industry anew to manufacture, import, distribute and sell products that have been fully tested for safety, contain no toxic chemicals of concern and provide truthful product information.