Sunday, September 12, 2010

Testing of toys for harmful chemicals sought

With the onset of the “ber” months, an
environmental watchdog has called on concerned authorities to test
toys for harmful chemicals to ensure that only safe toys are offered
for sale in the build-up towards Christmas gift giving.

EcoWaste Coalition, a network campaigning for children’s health and
safety from toxic chemicals, made the plea as the countdown to
Christmas begins.

“To make the holidays merry and safe, especially for kids, we ask the
government to guarantee that only truly non-toxic toys are placed on
store shelves and sold to consumers,” said Roy Alvarez, president of
EcoWaste Coalition.

“Over the next few months, stores will be stocking up heaps of
alluring toys in anticipation of the increased demand during the
season of gift-giving,” he noted.

“We 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 hands,” he

The group recently went “shop browsing” in Divisoria, which many
consider a bargain hunters’ paradise for toys and other consumer

The recent toxic toys scare in Singapore prompted the EcoWaste
Coalition’s AlertToxic Patrol to visit the popular 168 Mall, Divisoria
Mall, New Divisoria Center and other toy stores in the vicinity.

“We’re amazed to see that toy vendors are enjoying a brisk sale ahead
of the Christmas shopping spree. At the same time, we’re upset to see
many toys without adequate labels that could guide consumers on
whether these toys are suitable and pose no potential health and
safety risks to kids,” Manny Calonzo said.

The group said they saw two of the toys that failed chemical
toxicological tests commissioned by a consumer group in Singapore.

Last Aug. 16, the Consumer Association of Singapore (CASE) released
the results of the test it conducted on 50 toys and found 23 of them
containing higher than permitted levels of phthalates or lead, or

The toys selected for the test included colorfully painted toys
(indication of possible presence of excessive lead contents) and soft
and pliable plastic toys (indication of possible presence of excessive

Out of the 23 toys that failed chemical tests, 16 exceeded the limit
for phthalates, three exceeded the limit for lead, while four exceeded
the limit for both phthalates and lead.

Phthalates are industrial chemicals used as plastic softener that have
been linked to damage to the human reproductive systems, as well as
liver, kidney, and lung damage in animals, while lead is a neurotoxin
that attacks the brain and the nervous system, and is especially
hazardous to infants and young children.


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