Toxics Watchdog Screens Kiddie Sunglasses for Lead Content

Following the massive recall last week of kids’ sunglasses in US due to high
lead paint levels, the EcoWaste Coalition conducted a quick sampling of parallel
products sold locally.

“We find it important to screen kiddie sunglasses, even if in limited number,
to ensure that our young consumers are duly warned and protected against
potential lead exposure, and that the recalled products do not reach our ports
and store shelves,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s
Project Protect.   

On September 4, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the recall
of some 215,000 pairs of sunglasses because the “surface paint on the
sunglasses contains excessive levels of lead, which is prohibited under federal

As per CPSC Recall Number 14-268, the recalled kids’ sunglasses were imported
from China by FGX International Inc. and sold in various retail stores in US
from December 2013 to March 2014.

“This recall includes 20 styles of Disney, Marvel and Sears/Kmart brand children’s
sunglasses. They come in a variety of colors and with printed images of
characters on the frames,” the CPSC said.

Based on the limited sampling done by the EcoWaste Coalition, 14 of the 15
samples of Disney, DC Comics, Just Kidz and Kids children’s sunglasses that the
group screened for lead using an X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) device had no
detectable lead levels.

The samples were procured for
P23 to P199.75 each from Robinsons Department Store (Ermita, Manila), SM Department Store
(North EDSA and Cubao, Quezon City), Puregold Supermarket (Makati City) and
from bargain stalls at Farmers Plaza (Cubao, Quezon City.

However, one pair of branded kiddie sunglasses with red-coated metal frame
registered with extremely high lead level of 25,200 parts per million (ppm).  The EcoWaste Coalition will notify and
request the product distributor to initiate immediate voluntary recall action.

Under the US Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, “children’s
products that are designed or intended primarily for use by children 12 years
of age or younger cannot contain greater than 100 ppm (0.01 percent) of total
lead content in any accessible component part of the children’s product.”

Lead, a cumulative toxicant
affecting the brain and the central nervous system and other body systems, is
hazardous, especially for young children who often put things in their mouths
resulting to the direct ingestion of lead-containing particles.  

According to a fact sheet published by the World Health Organization (WHO), “childhood lead exposure is estimated to contribute
to about 600 000 new cases of children developing intellectual disabilities
every year.”

“There is no known level of lead exposure that is considered safe, and that
lead poisoning is entirely preventable,” the WHO said.