Monday, December 13, 2010

DOH to tighten measures against toxic plastic toys

THE Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday assured the public that they would do some preventive measures on all plastic toys that are being sold in the country now that the Christmas season is coming. Health Secretary Enrique Ona in a radio interview said that the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) would conduct tests to some plastic toys that are being sold in the market to know if it will be hazardous for children.

Ona also said that the FDA would tighten security against all imported toy products that would enter our country.

The secretary, however, admitted that the department does not have a policy that would control the selling of imported toy products, but he assured that they would do a long-term solution to the said problem.

Meanwhile, despite the recent warning of the EcoWaste Coalition about the danger of toxic plastic toys might bring to the public especially to children, plastic toys containing a chemical compound called “phthalates” are still being sold in Divisoria, Manila.

The phthalates (pronounced as THAL-ates), commonly found in various toy products create hazardous effect in the children’s health, as it can be easily ingested, inhaled or absorbed through the skin. This chemical compound could interfere with the production of testosterone and have been associated with reproductive abnormalities.

Moreover, since 1999 the Health department had warned that phthalates may cause adverse health effects such as liver and kidney wounds, reproductive abnormalities and immune system defects.

The coalition also advice consumers should check the labels of toys to ensure that the toys they will buy do not contain hazardous chemical such as phthalate.

On choosing toys
The Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF), however, published tips for choosing safe toys:
• Less is more! Buy fewer toys, aim for quality over quantity;
• Avoid very cheap toys because they often contain more hazardous chemicals;
• Do not buy a toy with a strong chemical or perfumed smell or if it feels uncomfortable to the touch;
• For young children, make sure that no small parts can be pulled off and swallowed;
• Unpack any new toy and leave it outdoors to let some of the hazardous chemicals to evaporate;
• For dolls: buy rag dolls and wash stuffed dolls before use;
• For cuddly toys: look for products from natural or organic materials and wash and air toys before use;
• For wooden toys: buy solid, unvarnished and unpainted wooden toys with as few glued parts as possible;
• For plastic toys: choose natural rubber toys, look for PVC-free and phthalate-free labels and avoid products which smell strongly of chemicals;
• For art materials and cosmetics: do not buy fragranced toys, as these can trigger lifelong fragrance allergies, which cannot be cured; choose products with food or plant colorings and without preservatives.


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