EcoWaste Coalition Alerts Parents over Lead-Tainted Children’s Chairs

Parents take heed: 
some painted chairs marketed for children’s use contain dangerous levels
of lead, a harmful chemical that is toxic to the brain and other organs of a
growing child.

The EcoWaste Coalition, a toxics watchdog, raised the red flag after detecting
lead up to 26,400 parts per million (ppm) on the yellow surface paint on the
metal tube frame of some imported children’s furniture.

“These kiddie play chairs are contaminated with toxic lead that would make them
illegal to sell in Canada and USA,  and
even in the Philippines if  we are to
rigorously enforce our country’s lead control regulation,” said Thony Dizon,
Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coaltion’s Project Protect.

“Parents should shun painted children’s play chairs unless certified lead-safe,
and government regulators should ban and seize them without ado to prevent
childhood lead poisoning,” he added.

Dizon warned that the leaded paint coatings of the said chairs will crack,
flake or peel over time, scattering hazardous chips and dust on surfaces and
objects that kids touch and then swallow through their common hand-to-mouth

As part of its “Kid-Safe Toys for Zero Harm, Zero Waste” pre-Christmas
campaign, the group’s AlerToxic Patrol procured on September 4 brand-new
folding chair, stool and chair with backrest costing P140, P120 and P80,
respectively, from a bargain store in Paco, Manila.

Each chair has a plastic green and yellow seat, with a fiore (flower) baby
design, that produces sounds when a child sit on it.

Based on the screening conducted by the group using an X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF)
device, the yellow coated frame of the folding chair had lead content amounting
to 26,400 ppm, the stool had 19,700 ppm and the chair with backrest had 16,100
ppm, way above the 90 ppm threshold limit.

The group stated that the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act and the US
Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act both limit lead to not more than 90 ppm
in surface coating materials for toys, furniture and other children’s articles
to safeguard kids from toxicity associated with lead exposure.

It further referred to the groundbreaking Chemical Control Order for Lead and
Lead Compounds issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources
last December 2013 that strictly prohibits the use of lead in the manufacturing
of toys.

Citing information from the World Health Organization (WHO), the EcoWaste
Coalition stated that “at high levels of acute exposure, lead
attacks the brain and central nervous system to cause coma, convulsions and
even death. Children who survive acute lead poisoning are typically left with
grossly obvious mental retardation and behavioural disruption.”

“At lower levels of exposure that cause no obvious
symptoms and that previously were considered safe, lead is now known to produce
a spectrum of injury that causes loss of cognition, shortening of attention
span, alteration of behaviour, dyslexia, attention deficit disorder,
hypertension, renal impairment, immunotoxicity and toxicity to the reproductive
organs,” the WHO  further said.

“For the most part, these effects are permanent.
They are irreversible and untreatable by modern medicine,” the WHO warned.

This is not the first time that the group detected atrocious levels of
lead on children’s furniture.  XRF
screening and subsequent laboratory analysis of similar kiddie chairs and
stools in 2012 and 2013 found lead up to 20,680 ppm in the samples.