A group promoting non-toxic alternatives to firecrackers and fireworks emphasized the need for parental supervision as children may opt for torotot (paper or plastic hornpipe) as a substitute noisemaker in the run-up to the New Year.
The EcoWaste Coalition, a partner of the Department of Health-led Iwas Paputok campaign, issued the reminder as torotot vendors enjoy brisk sales with the New Year revelry fast approaching.
“If a torotot is the preferred noisemaker, parents should select a well-made torotot and supervise a child while she or he plays with it. The importance of parental responsibility cannot be overemphasized as the torotots being sold in the market contain zero instruction on proper use and their quality and safety cannot be guaranteed,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
“While a torotot will not blow off a child’s fingers or give off toxic fumes, it may cause injuries requiring medical care as well as add to the revelry garbage,” he warned.
Among the potential injuries from the use of torotot are 1) choking due to the accidental ingestion of the horn’s mouthpiece or whistle, 2) cuts or lacerations due to the sharp edges of the horn’s bell, and 3) noise-induced hearing loss due to loud sounds.
“A torotot contains small parts like the mouthpiece or whistle that can be detached and get swallowed by a child causing an airway blockage,” Dizon explained.
Dizon cited the two choking incidents in 2010 involving children aged 3 and 8, which prompted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue Health Advisory 2011-017 entitled “Warning on the Possible Choking Hazard Associated with the use of Torotot.”
“Some cone-shaped plastic horns have sharp edges that can cut a child’s sensitive skin,” he said.
“Also, some torotot may produce very loud sounds that can be harmful or distressing to humans as well as animals,” Dizon said, adding that “sound exceeding 85 decibels can damage hearing.”
The EcoWaste Coalition further raised the issue of torotot adding to the New Year revelry garbage.
“Torotots are often disposed of as trash after the festivities. It’s not difficult to spot them on the heaps of garbage following the merrymaking on New Year’s eve,” Dizon said.
“The proliferation of plastic torotots is a cause of concern as this may be unnecessarily adding to the mounting plastic pollution that the global community is faced with and is trying to address,” he said.
“The plastic torotots after their useful lives will have to go somewhere and we are not sure how much of these are reused or recycled at all,” he said.
To save money and to avoid the generation of more garbage this New Year, the EcoWaste Coalition stressed that banging pots and pans will definitely do the trick.
No matter what your preferred noisemaker is, parental supervision is highly recommended to prevent any untoward event that may harm a child, the group pointed out.