entire country braces for the summer heat that is expected to reach 40 degrees celsius,
a toxics watchdog cautioned consumers against buying swimming toys that may
contain health-damaging chemicals called phthalates.
“As kids look forward to taking a dip in the pool or the beach during the
summer break, we advise parents to avoid buying swimming toys that may pose
chemical risk due to their phthalate content,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of
the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.
“By asserting their consumer rights to product information and product safety,
parents can protect their kids from being exposed to harmful substances,” he
The group has expressed concern over the sale of inflatable swimming floats,
rings and related toys in the market, mostly made of polyvinyl chloride plastic
that may be loaded with phthalates, which are used to make PVC more flexible.
Dizon cited the market withdrawal in eight European countries of various types
of swim rings because of “chemical risk” attributed to their phthalate
As per website of the European Union’s Rapid Alert System for Non-Food
Dangerous Products (RAPEX), 41 notifications were filed from 2007-2013 by the
governments of Cyprus, Czech Republic,
France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia and Slovakia against swim rings laced
with toxic phthalates.
to phthalates, which are known endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), have
been linked to a number of health problems,
including deformed penises and undescended testicles, cleft palate and other developmental
abnormalities, premature puberty, shorter pregnancy duration, birth defects and
other health problems.
Studies have likewise linked
phthalates to asthma, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes,
obesity and cancer.
The European Union, the United States and even the Philippines have take action
to minimize children’s exposure to phthalates in children’s products,
Under the Department of Health
Administrative Order 2009-0005 A as amended in 2011, children’s toys containing
over 1% of phthalates DEHP
(Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate), DBP (Dibutyl phthalate) and BBP (Butyl benzyl
phthalate) are prohibited.
The said DOH policy further prohibits phthalates DINP (Diisononyl phthalate),
DIDP (Diisodecyl phthalate) and DNOP (di-n-octyl phthalate) in excess of 1% in
children’s toys that could be placed in the mouth.
“Parents can use their purchasing power to compel manufacturers to offer toys
that are safe from phthalates in line with the DOH policy,” Dizon said.
To avoid exposing children to phthalates in swimming toys, the EcoWaste
Coalition urges parents as consumers to:
1. Choose for phthalate-free, non-PVC
2. Read product labels; avoid those
carrying plastic symbol “3” and those marked PVC or vinyl.
3. Look for the license-to-operate
number on the label, which is an indicator of compliance to DOH’s documentary
4. Avoid products with strong plastic
5. If you have already bought the toy
and is unsure if it is phthalate-free, unpack and leave the product outdoors to
let some of the hazardous substances disappear.
(type “swim ring” under “free text search”; search from 2005 to 2014)