EcoWaste Coalition Welcomes Signing of Toy and Game Safety Labeling Act of 2013

Product label of China-made
“Shrilling Chicken” that was recently recalled in Sweden for
violating the European Union’s regulation on persistent organic pollutants

An environmental group tracking toxins in children’s products welcomed the
signing of Republic Act 10620, the Toy and Game Safety Labeling Act of 2013, by
President Benigno S. Aquino III last September 3.

In a statement sent to the media, the EcoWaste Coalition cited the new law as a
potent tool that will compel toy manufacturers to comply with safety labeling
requirements or face legal sanctions.

“R.A. 10620, we hope, will be able to fix a persistent problem on poorly and deceptively
labeled toys that we have been seeing since we started to embark on regular toy
sampling way back in 2011,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of EcoWaste
Coalition’s Project Protect. 

Toy sampling conducted by the group showed 121 of the 435 toy samples (27%)
that it analyzed in 2011 and 312 of the 518 samples (60%) it examined in 2012
had antimony, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead and mercury above levels of
concern, which were not indicated on the product labels.

“By ensuring that toys and games bear the mandatory safety warnings and
instructions, including cautionary statements, we uphold the rights of children
who are most vulnerable to biological, chemical, mechanical, physical and other
types of hazards that toys may present,” he said.

Dizon pointed out that toy consumers have, among other rights, 1) the right to
have access to truthful product information to facilitate sound choice, and 2)
the right to be protected against the marketing of goods that are harmful to
health and life.

Under the law, “a balloon, ball, marble,
or toy or game which packaging is not in compliance with the requirements shall
be considered a misbranded or banned hazardous substance and withdrawn from the
market at the expense of the manufacturer or importer.”

A fine of not less than P10,000 but not exceeding P50,000 or imprisonment of
not less than three months to two years, or both, await violators of the law.

R.A. 10620 has assigned the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the
Department of Health (DOH) to regularly publish every six months 1) the list of
all manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers who failed to comply
with the requirements of the law, and 2) the list of all misbranded or banned
hazardous substances disallowed for sale and distribution, respectively.

“We are excited to see and even contribute to the lists that the DTI and DOH
are tasked to do.  The information on these lists will surely assist
consumers in making informed and healthy purchasing decisions,” Dizon said.

As the Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A. 10620 are prepared, the EcoWaste
Coalition proposed a parallel review of the Philippine National Standards for
safety of toys to ensure essential amendments are made in light of relevant
policy developments on children’s health and safety, nationally and globally.

Senators Miriam Defensor Santiago and Manny Villar authored the Senate version
of R.A. 10620 during the last Congress, while its House version was authored by
Representatives Diosdado Arroyo, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Rufus Rodriguez.