19 August 2019, Quezon City. An environmental advocacy group campaigning against lead poisoning, especially among children, has revealed the sale in the local market of light up toy swords contaminated with lead, a health-damaging chemical.
Taking its cue from a product recall order in the United Kingdom (UK) last August 12 for a China-made light up toy sword due to its lead content, the EcoWaste Coalition over the weekend procured eight samples of such toys for P40 to P100 each from toy wholesalers and retailers in Divisoria, Manila.
The light up toy sword recalled in UK contains a silver paint with lead measuring 112 parts per million (ppm). “A child may put the toy in the mouth,” the recall order said, noting that “exposure to lead is harmful for human health and cause developmental neurotoxicity.”
“We bought some light up toy swords, also known as flashing stick or Star Wars lightsabers, to check if such toys sold locally do not present a lead exposure risk to their young users,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
Using a handheld X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) analytical device, the group detected lead on two of the eight samples of light up toy swords.
One has 136 ppm of lead and the other has 944 ppm, exceeding the 90 ppm maximum regulatory limit for lead in paint. Also, three of the samples were found to contain high levels of antimony and bromine.
“We also found all the eight samples unlabeled or mislabeled with important information as age grading, cautionary warning and manufacturer’s marking missing,” he added.
“We therefore urge consumers to take the necessary precaution when buying toys for their loved ones. Please exercise your right to product information, as well as your right to be protected against hazardous chemicals in products,” he said.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “lead is a cumulative toxicant that affects multiple body systems and is particularly harmful to young children.”
“Young children are particularly vulnerable to the toxic effects of lead and can suffer profound and permanent adverse health effects, particularly affecting the development of the brain and nervous system,” the WHO warned.
“There is no known level of lead exposure that is considered safe,” the WHO emphasized.