EcoWaste Coalition Finds Phone Cord Holders Cute, But Toxic

The EcoWaste
Coalition, a chemical safety and zero waste advocacy group, alerted consumers against buying counterfeit China-made
“Disney” cord holders for cell phones, laptops, tablets, USBs and other

The cord holders are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic as indicated on
the labels, sold for P35 per set by street vendors in Divisoria, Manila and are
available in various cartoon creatures.

As per chemical screening using an X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) device, lead, a toxic
chemical, was detected in all but one of the 15 samples up to 5,616 parts per
million (ppm). 

“Cord holders are not toys, but accessories to keep power cords from getting tangled.  But they could easily pass as toys to imaginative
and playful children because of their small size, light weight and beautiful cartoon
designs,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project

“The unauthorized use of cute and popular Disney characters from ‘Avengers,’ ‘Frozen’
and ‘Toy Story’ make these cord holders a sure hit for kids,” he added.

Among the iconic cartoon figures adorning the trendy cord holders are Batman, Princess
Elsa, Pluto, Spiderman, Superman, Winnie the Pooh, Wolverine and Woody.
“The products are obviously fake with zero information about their
manufacturer, importer or distributor, and the glaring grammatical and spelling
errors on the labels,” he pointed out.

Lead is a chemical poison that can harm the brain and the central nervous
system and damage other body organs, with children under six most at risk,
Dizon said.

“Young children may chew on the toy-like cord holders and ingest the lead and
other chemicals of concern present on the material,” he said, stressing that “health
authorities have determined no known acceptable lead exposure level for

“As a safety measure, we advise those who have already bought such cord holders
to keep them out of children’s sight and reach,” he stated.
Aside from the lead content, the EcoWaste Coalition warned that PVC cord
holders may contain other hazardous additives such as phthalates.

Phthalates are synthetic plasticizers or softening agents used in the
manufacturing of vinyl plastic.

Classified as endocrine disrupting chemicals or EDCs, phthalates have been
blamed for genital deformities such as deformed penises and undescended
testicles, for developmental abnormalities such as cleft palate, for the early
onset of puberty and other health problems, including cancer.

As per Department of Health Administrative Order 2009-0005-A, phthalates DEHP,
DBP and BBP are prohibited in children’s toys, while phthalates DINP, DIDP and
DnOP  are prohibited in toys that can be placed in a child’s mouth, in
amounts exceeding the 0.1 percent limit by weight.