Sunday, December 5, 2010

Groups warn Xmas shoppers vs dangerous toys

Environment and health advocates Sunday reminded consumers against buying dangerous toys as the Christmas shopping frenzy peaks.

Buklod Tao and EcoWaste Coalition exhorted consumers to choose only safe and non-toxic toys this Christmas.

“Unfortunately, many parents and other gift givers aren’t aware of the dangers posed by these innocent-looking playthings. As such, they unwittingly expose their children to various health and safety hazards," said Thony Dizon, coordinator of the Coalition's Project PROTECT.

The groups particularly warned against toys that pose choking, strangulation, laceration, poking and chemical exposure risks to young children.

Citing information from the Safe Toys Guide, they said many toys in the market today contain harmful ingredients including the chemicals bisphenol-A, brominated flame retardants, cadmium, chlorinated paraffins, chromium, formaldehyde, lead and phthalates, which act as softeners for polyvinyl chloride or PVC.

Lead, most commonly found in paint, is a major environmental health hazard that can have wide-ranging effects on a child’s development and behavior.

Exposure to even small amounts of lead can cause hyperactivity, irritability and attention disorders in children, while those exposed to higher levels may develop reading and learning problems.

They may also experience delayed growth and hearing loss.

“There is no excuse for manufacturing goods containing toxic materials that can jeopardize children’s health and development," EcoWaste president Roy Alvarez said.

“It is doubly inexcusable when these items are targeted towards children, because they are the ones most vulnerable to such poisons," he added.

Proactive safeguards

EcoWaste urged the government to proactively safeguard consumers from hazardous products by conducting regular tests on toys and child care products being sold in the market.

The groups want the government to recall products that put the health and safety of children at risk.

They urged consumers to read the labels on toys before buying them.

The Department of Health’s Administrative Order 2007-0032 specifically states that produced and imported toys should include a duly registered name and trademark, a model reference number, the manufacturer or distributor’s name, and the place, country and year of manufacture, as well as warnings and precautionary indications.

Consumers should also look for the manufacturer’s License to Operate number which indicates that the toy has complied with the DOH’s documentary requirements.

Information on the safe use of the toy and the minimum age required should also appear on the packaging.

“We strongly urge the Philippine government to implement labeling laws, especially for toys and other children’s goods. It is especially important to list the chemical contents of toys on their packaging because the public has the right to know exactly what they’re buying," Alvarez said.

EcoWaste recommended giving homemade gifts, food items, books, and school supplies as alternatives to traditional store-bought gifts.

“As parents and caregivers, we can show our love for our children by becoming more aware of what we buy for them this Christmas. The best gift we can give them is the gift of a safe and toxics-free future. That’s the real gift that keeps on giving," according to EcoWaste.


Post a Comment