Sunday, September 12, 2010

Gov’t urged to protect children from toxic toys these holidays

A known environmentalist Sunday challenged
the government to strictly monitor the entry into the country of toxic
toys, as well as the sale of these imported products in the market, to
protect children from the destructive effects of chemicals.

”The government, particularly the Department of Trade and Industry
(DTI), must strengthened its monitoring capability to ensure that only
“non-toxic” toys are sold in the market,” said environmentalist Roy
Alvarez, president of the EcoWaste Coalition.

Alvarez said that during the Christmas holidays, there is big demand
for children’s toys – toxic and non-toxic -- and, definitely
businessmen and traders would want to take advantage of the big need
for these products without taking into consideration whether or not
some of these toys are laced with toxic chemicals.

Alvarez warned Bureau of Customs officials and employees against
facilitating the entry into the country of toxic toys, adding the BoC
should heightened its anti-smuggling efforts, especially in
determining the contents of shipments arriving in the ports.

Years back, reports have it that there were young children being
affected by toxic wastes originating from imported toys.

It has been recorded that during the past many years, several
thousands of container vans loaded with imported children’s toys, big
bulk of which comprising of toxic toys, enter into ports of the
country because of manipulation by smuggling syndicates with the
connivance of some enterprising government officials and employees.

The EcoWaste president disclosed that two kinds of toys that failed
chemical toxic tests in Singapore are now being sold in Divisoria,
Manila’s bargain haunt. He, however, failed to name the toys being

“To make the holidays merry and safe, especially for kids, we ask the
government to guarantee that only truly non-toxic toys are placed in
store shelves and sold to consumers," Alvarez pointed out.

He said, “We all owe it to the Filipino children that toys laced with
chemicals linked to mental retardation, brain damage, behavioral
disorders, and the like are strictly banned and kept out of children's

Alvarez cited a study last month by the Consumer Association of
Singapore (CASE), which confirmed that 23 of the 50 toys tested
contained high levels of phtalates, lead, or both.

”The Singapore study revealed that toys brightly and colorfully
painted indicate possible presence of excessive lead, while soft and
pliable toys indicate the presence of excessive phthalates, a
colorless oily ester used chiefly as a solvent, plasticizer, pesticide
and insect repellent," he said.

He also disclosed that all the toys in the CASE study were made in China.

”We are deeply concerned that the toys being sold in Divisoria do not
carry proper labels to indicate "whether these toys are suitable and
pose no potential health and safety risks to children nationwide,”
Alvarez stressed.


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