glass tumbler, a paint brush, a cute shot glass and pretty earrings sold in
Quiapo streets have in common?
Answer: They cost very little at only P10 to P15 each, carry no product labels
and contain loads of lead, a potent neurotoxin!
In anticipation of large numbers of people visiting Quiapo for the feast of the
Black Nazarene, the EcoWaste Coalition, a toxics watchdog, conducted test buys
of non-perishable items that are being sold by street vendors in the area. The
group only bought items worth P15 and below.
The group obtained a total of 35 assorted items and subsequently analyzed them
for toxic metals using a portable X-Ray Fluorescence device.
Out of the 35 samples, 23 tested positive for lead, a highly toxic chemical,
with the following items registering the highest lead levels per product
2. A glass tumbler with yellow flower design, P10, with 69,100 ppm lead.
3. A shot glass with red and orange flower design, P10, with 64,800 ppm lead.
4. An orange coin purse with inspirational text, P10, with 11,800
5. A paint brush with yellow painted handle, P15, with 5,358 ppm
“The excessive lead content in the tainted samples may be attributed to the use
of lead paint on the product designs and the use of lead as colorant or stabilizer
in plastic vinyl materials,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste
Coalition’s Project Protect.
“These leaded articles may be silently contributing to lead exposure in humans
as the products are repeatedly used and then disposed of,” he said.
Lead is known to exert toxic effects on the brain and the nervous system, disrupting
normal brain development and causing mental retardation marked by reduced
intelligence, Dizon said, stressing that “no safe level of lead exposure has
“This is why it is important to avoid lead-containing products, especially when
there are lead-safe alternatives available,” he said.
As ordinary consumers would have no way to gauge if a product has lead or not,
the EcoWaste Coalition urged manufacturers to switch to non-lead materials and
duly label their products as “lead-safe” upon proper certification.
For more information about lead, please refer to: