The EcoWaste Coalition, a non-profit watch group on toxic chemicals, products and wastes, urged the public to shun art coloring products containing lead, a dangerous substance, especially for young children.
The group issued the statement after finding a lead-containing water color set on sale in the market despite being banned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Last August 31, the FDA through Advisory No. 2017-26 warned the public against buying and using Ultra Colours Jumbo Crayons and Xiao Yiren Water Color for containing lead above the maximum allowed limit of 90 parts per million (ppm).
This is the second time that the FDA banned a water color product for containing lead. In 2014, it banned Artex Water Color for its excessive lead content as reported to the agency by the EcoWaste Coalition.
In test buys conducted on September 7, the group managed to purchase Xiao Yiren Water Color from a retail establishment in Sta. Cruz, Manila.
“We urge the public to steer clear of art coloring products laden with lead, a substance that is banned in the production of school supplies,” stated Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.
“We also appeal to concerned manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers to strictly observe the country’s regulatory policy that seeks to protect children from preventable sources of lead exposure,” he said.
“We further appeal to all local government units and law enforcement agencies to assist the FDA in ensuring that the banned products are not sold in their areas of jurisdiction,” he added.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Administrative Order 2013-24, or the Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds, prohibits the use of lead in the manufacture of school supplies, toys, and other products. It further sets a 90 ppm limit for lead in paint and provides for the phase-out of paints exceeding such limit.
According to the advisory signed by FDA Director General Nela Charade Puno, “lead is dangerous even at low exposure levels producing a spectrum of injury across multiple body systems.”
“Lead affects children’s brain development resulting in reduced intelligence quotient (IQ), behavioral changes such as reduced attention span and increased anti-social behavior, and reduced educational attainment,” the FDA warned.
“Their hand-to-mouth behaviors, as well as their innate curiosity, predisposed them to put objects in their mouth resulting to unintended exposure to multiple hazardous substances such as lead,” the FDA said.
The FDA has strongly advised the public to buy and use art coloring products and school supplies that are registered/notified with the agency, supplied or distributed by FDA-licensed establishments and sold by legitimate outlets.
Republic Act No. 9711 (the FDA Act), as well as Republic Act No. 7394 (Consumer Act of the Philippines), prohibit the manufacture, distribution, sale or offering for sale or use, advertisement, promotion, and transport, among others, of health products that are unregistered, adulterated or misbranded.