Thursday, December 2, 2010

Alvarez, environmentalist group call for Christmas toys inspection

An environment group has pressed the Bureau of Customs to carefully inspect holiday toys and goods shipped from China to ensure that these are not made of toxic materials.

Ecowaste Coalition, in a statement, said Customs should publish the brand names, photos and other product specifications of toys that the Bureau had rejected due to high levels of lead and other harmful chemicals, to guide the public.

With the holiday season looming, the organization also urged Customs to inspect imported fruits and other food stuffs for pesticide residues and other contaminants.

“We support the more careful inspection of these Christmas shipments to ensure that dangerous goods such as toxic toys, substandard lights and perilous firecrackers are not put up for sale in the local market,” said Roy Alvarez, President of the EcoWaste Coalition.

“The stringent scrutiny by our customs officers is needed to thwart any attempts by crooked traders to make profits from the sale of dangerous products that could jeopardize public health and safety,” he added.

“We urge the BOC to make these toxic toys known to the consumers through the BOC website and the popular media in order to inform and protect the public, especially the children,” said Thony Dizon, coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project PROTECT (People Responding and Organizing against Toxic Chemical Threats).

The group's call came after Customs officials recently placed an alert on 15 container trucks filled with toys, firecrackers and fruits from Hong Kong and China.

The Customs said the alert was issued pending verification of permits from various government agencies on the contents of the containers.

Customs examines toy shipments by obtaining samples of products from the lot and sending the samples to an independent private laboratory for analysis. Toys that failed the tests are issued warrants of seizure and detention.

Toys containing lead and lead-based paint are dangerous because they expose children to this brain-damaging chemical, which could be transmitted through the mouth. Health experts believe there is no defined safe level for lead as they can be toxic to children even at low levels, according to the group.


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