Testing of 100 Toys Bought in Baclaran Shows Toxic Metals in 50 Samples

EcoWaste Coalition, an environmental watchdog tracking harmful chemicals in
products and wastes, found half of the 100 toy samples it procured in Baclaran
positive for lead and other toxic metals.

The results were released today as a finale to the group’s observance of the
UN-backed International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action (October
20-26) to call attention to the lead hazard in some toys due to the use of lead
in paints as pigment or drier, or as an additive in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic

“50 out of the 100 assorted toy samples were found contaminated with one or
more toxicants that are not properly identified on the product labels to alert
consumers,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project

Traces of antimony, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead and mercury were found in
half of the samples.  Lead, a potent
neurotoxin, was found in 46 samples above the US regulatory limit of 90 parts
per million (ppm) for lead in paint and surface coatings.

“Children aged six years and under are most vulnerable to lead and other toxins
because their brains and bodies are still developing and because of their
common hand-to-mouth behavior that may cause  direct ingestion of lead in dust, soil and
toys,” Dizon pointed out.  

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “lead exposure harms children
at much lower doses, and the health effects are generally irreversible and can
have a lifelong impact.”

Evidence of reduced intelligence due to childhood lead exposure has convinced
WHO to list “lead-caused mental retardation” as a recognized disease.

“The other 50 samples were negative for toxic metals signifying that
manufacturers can make toys sans hazardous substances and still profit from
it.  The presence of such substances in
toys that can harm children’s health is indefensible,” Dizon stated.

The 10 toy samples that showed the highest levels of lead include:

1.  An unlabeled yellow painted metal chair
with back rest with 43,100 ppm.
2.  An unlabeled cow coin bank with 8,761
3.  An unlabeled rug doll with yellow PVC
plastic dress with 7,014 ppm.
3.  A “Fashion Doll” wearing green PVC
plastic dress with 5,027 ppm.
4.  A “Ji Hua” jumping rope (green cord)
with 4,279 ppm.
5.  An unlabeled rug doll with orange PVC
plastic dress with 4,082 ppm.
6.  A unlabeled pig coin bank with 2,740
7.  A “Cars”-labeled green mini-car with
2,344 ppm.
8.  A “Ben 10” toy watch with 1,962 ppm.
9.  A “Kidz Corner Pocket Billiard” set
with 1,421 ppm.
10 . A “Ji Hua” Jumping rope (black cord) with 931 ppm.

The toys were procured on October 18 and 19 by the EcoWaste Coalition’s
AlerToxic Patrol for P50 to P285 each, mostly from Baclaran discount stores in Parañaque and
Pasay Cities, and subsequently screened for toxic metals using a portable X-Ray
Fluorescence spectrometer.

The EcoWaste Coalition initiated a monthly pre-Christmas toys sampling with the
advent of the “ber” months to raise the awareness of consumers and motivate
them to exercise their rights.  Last
September, the group detected lead and other chemicals of concern in 94 out of
200 samples (47%) obtained from retailers in Divisoria, Manila.

With barely 60 days before Christmas, the EcoWaste Coalition has reiterated its
advice to consumers, particularly parents, to be vigilant against potentially
dangerous toys and other children’s products in the market.  

“Be inquisitive and insist on your right to product information and
safety.  Avoid toys that are not
compliant with the mandatory testing, registration and labelling
requirements.  Rich or poor, everyone is
entitled to non-toxic products, nothing more, nothing less,” Dizon reiterated.