Cheap Angel and Buddha Figurines Found Safe from Toxic Lead

Locally-made ornamental Angel and Buddha figurines that
showed high levels of toxic lead in the past are now safe from the
brain-damaging chemical.

The EcoWaste Coalition made this surprise discovery after
screening six samples of the figurines for lead using a portable X-Ray
Fluorescence device.
The group obtained the painted figurines for P35 each
from ambulant street vendors last Good Friday in Antipolo City.  
“We’re very happy that the figurine maker listened to our
appeal as announced through the media and voluntarily shifted to non-lead
decorative paints,”  said Thony Dizon,
Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.
“Such a switch is beneficial for their workers, sellers
and costumers, as well as to young children who are defenseless to lead
exposure,” he added.
Lead, a toxic chemical, has been shown to harm a child’s
developing brain and central nervous system even at low levels of exposure with
life-long adverse impacts, the EcoWaste Coalition warned.
Samples of Angel and Buddha figurines that the EcoWaste
Coalition bought and screened for lead in 2013 and 2014 showed high lead
content up to over 10,000 parts per million (ppm), way above the targeted 90
ppm limit under the government’s Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead
This time around, all six samples of Angel and Buddha
figurines had non-detectable levels of lead, indicating a switch to lead-safe
paints by the maker based out of Cavite, the group said.
“The black, blue, gold, green, orange, pink, red, white
and yellow paints used for the figurines were lead-safe,” Dizon added.
“The use of unleaded coatings in the figurines is very
important as children may be exposed to lead as the painted surfaces peel with
time or when the figurines are broken creating lead-containing dust,”  he explained.
Children playing at home get the lead dust on their
hands, and then ingest it through usual hand-to-mouth routine, notably for kids
aged six years and younger, and, in some cases, they may even pick up paint
chips that have higher lead content than that of dust and eat the chips, the
EcoWaste Coalition said.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “lead
is a cumulative toxicant that affects multiple body systems, including the
neurologic, hematologic, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and renal systems.”
“Children are particularly vulnerable to the neurotoxic
effects of lead, and even relatively low levels of exposure can cause serious
and in some cases irreversible neurological damage,” the WHO said.
“If there is one suggestion that we would like to make
this time, it would be on product labeling as the figurines remain
unlabeled.  For the information of the
consumers, we urge the figurine maker to duly label their products,” Dizon