1 October 2018, Quezon City. As the Consumer Welfare Month (CWM) is observed this October, a non-government organization has reminded the public to be on the alert for popular holiday products that may pose harm to human health and the environment.
In a statement issued to mark the CWM, the EcoWaste Coalition emphasized the right of consumers to be protected against hazards to health and safety as guaranteed by the Consumer Act of the Philippines, as well as the United Nations Guidelines on Consumer Protection.
“Consumers should be mindful of injurious, dangerous and unsafe goods flooding the market, including online shopping sites, as the festive holiday season gets underway. Consumers deserve good quality and safe products at affordable prices,” stated Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
“Consumers should assert their right to product information and their right to be safeguarded against the marketing of goods that are hazardous to health, life and property,” he said.
Dizon specifically cautioned consumers against the careless purchase of popular holiday products like children’s toys, Christmas lights and gift items that have not undergone quality and safety verification procedures.
Inferior quality toys may contain hazardous substances such as cadmium, lead and mercury, brominated flame retardants and phthalates, and may pose burn, chemical, choking laceration, strangulation and other risks for young consumers, he said.
Substandard Christmas lights and other electrical products can result in electric shock for the user and even cause fires, he pointed out.
Some common gift items may not be suitable and safe for children, pregnant women and other vulnerable groups due to their physical and chemical properties, he added.
“While consumer vigilance is a key factor in protecting users against injurious, dangerous and unsafe goods, manufacturers, importers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers, as well as the government, have the highest responsibility in ensuring that only safe products are produced, marketed and sold to consumers,” Dizon emphasized.
In line with Article 10 of the Consumer Act of the Philippines, responsible government agencies by their own initiative or by petition of a consumer should, after due notice and hearing, order the recall, prohibition or seizure of products found to be injurious, dangerous and unsafe, the group stressed.
CWM is observed every October as contained in Proclamation No. 1098 issued by former President Fidel Ramos in 1997 “to set aside a period during which concerted efforts for the assertion of consumers rights may be thoroughly discussed, planned and carried out.”