Sen. Villar Leads Toy Inspection as NGO Watchdog Bats for Heightened Drive vs “Bad” Toys

The EcoWaste Coalition today called on both the public and private sectors to conduct a non-stop toy safety campaign with Christmas barely over a month away.

The EcoWaste Coalition renewed its plea for toy safety as a multi-sectoral team led by Senator Manny Villar, Chair of the Senate Committee on Trade and Commerce, held this morning a toy inspection at the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City.

Villar, assisted by Engr. Ramir Castro of QES (Manila), Inc., screened some toy samples using a portable X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) chemicals analyzer.

Dr. Kenneth Hartigan-Go, Director of the Food and Drug Administration as well as representatives from the Department of Health, Department of Trade and Industry, EcoWaste Coalition and the Save the Babies Coalition joined Villar in the said event.

“A relentless drive for toy safety that empowers consumers to exercise their rights, as well as pushes businesses to fulfill their responsibilities, will make the Christmas gift-giving season a safer one for Filipino kids,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

“Consumers should carefully examine toy products and their labels, look for the license to operate (LTO) number and demand other essential information so they can exclude bad toys from their shopping list, particularly toys that can cause physical and chemical harm to young users,” he said.

“Businesses, on the other hand, should only sell toys that have completed rigorous tests for physical and chemical safety, and are properly licensed and labeled as required by law,” he further said.

Villar has so far filed three Senate resolutions on “toxic toys” at the 15thCongress, including Senate Resolutions 204 and 560 that were based on the investigative work done by the EcoWaste Coalition on toys laced with cadmium, lead and other harmful chemicals.

In 2011, the EcoWaste Coalition released the first publicly available data on toxic metals in children’s toys showing 29% of the 435 toy samples procured from Metro Manila, Metro Cebu and Davao City with at least one heavy metal above levels of concern.

A similar investigation by the group in July 2012 detected toxic metals above levels of concern in 32% of the 171 toy samples bought from stores outside 18 public elementary schools in Metro Manila’s 17 local government units.

Another follow-up investigation in September 2012 found 49% of the 150 toy samples from various Divisoria retailers to be tainted with heavy metals above “allowable”limits with 148 of the samples carrying no LTO number on their labels.

In a more recent investigation in October 12, the EcoWaste Coalition discovered that 60% of the 100 toy samples it bought from retailers in Baclaran and nearby areas had lead and other toxic metals above levels of concern.

Last November 13, the government through DOH-FDA Advisory 2012-014 warned the public against buying certain plastic toys “in view of the concerns raised regarding children’s toys with heavy metals as these have been found to leach out from the toys when they are sucked or chewed as commonly practiced by children especially the infants.”