Are Kids’ Plastic Dolls Safe from Harmful Chemicals? (Government Urged to Embark on Testing Blitz of Plastic Dolls as EU Recalled 165 Products)

The EcoWaste Coalition, a
toxics watchdog, pondered on the safety of plastic dolls sold locally after
discovering illegal level of synthetic chemicals known as phthalates in a
locally-manufactured doll it procured from Divisoria, Manila.
Phthalates refer to a group
of industrial chemicals that are often used as plasticizers, or softening
agents, in vinyl plastic products, including toys.
Known to interfere with
normal endocrine or hormone functions, infants and children can be exposed
to phthalates through the mouthing of plastic toys.
“We could not help but ask if
plastic dolls, especially those sold in discount stores, are safe from
phthalates for our girls to play with,” queried Thony Dizon, Coordinator of
the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.
“Countries in Europe have
taken strong measures to prohibit the entry or sale of dolls laden with
toxic phthalates.  From 2013 to date,
18 European countries banned 165 phthalate- softened dolls, and
surprisingly not a single one has been banned in the Philippines,” he
“This prompted us to buy and send
one sample to the laboratory for analysis. We would have wanted to test
more products, but the cost of analysis is too prohibitive at over P7,500
per sample,” he explained.
According to the laboratory
analysis conducted by the SGS, a global testing company, the head of the
baby doll on the “Little Ones Nap Time Doll Crib Set” had 16.70% of phthalate
DEHP, way above the 0.1% limit.
As per product label, the
doll crib set is made by New Anding’s Trading and Manufacturing (stock
number 4023).  It is sold for P100
per set.

Last Tuesday, Undersecretary Victorio Mario Dimagiba of the Department of
Trade and Industry endorsed the complaint lodged by the EcoWaste Coalition
regarding the said doll to the Food and Drugs Administration for
appropriate action.

The Department of Health
Administrative Order 2009-0005-A as amended in 2011 provides that “it shall
be unlawful for any person to manufacture for sale, offer for sale, distribute
in commerce, or import into the country any children’s toys that contains
concentrations  of more than 0.1
percent by weight of DEHP, DBP or BBP.”
The same A.O., signed by
Health Secretary Enrique T. Ona, prohibits the sale of “any children’s toy
that can be placed in a child’s mouth that contains concentrations of more
than 0.1 % by weight of DINP, DIDP or DnOP.
Data gathered by the EcoWaste
Coalition from the European Union’s Rapid Alert System for Non-Food
Dangerous Products (RAPEX) showed that from 2013 to date Croatia, Cyprus, Czech
Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia,
Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and UK
either rejected 165 doll imports at the border or withdrew them from the market
for violating EU’s regulation on phthalates.
To prevent childhood exposure
to phthalates, the EcoWaste Coalition appealed to the industry to only
offer dolls and other toys that meet the DOH regulation, and to duly label
their products to assist consumers in making an informed choice.
To assure consumers of the
safety of plastic dolls in the market, the EcoWaste Coalition urged the
authorities to embark on a “testing blitz,” targeting affordable dolls sold
in both formal and informal retail outlets.
In the meantime, the EcoWaste
Coalition advised consumers, particularly parents, to utilize their
purchasing power to induce the toy industry to shift to non-toxic materials
by not patronizing toys made of PVC and others not duly labeled, tested and
(type “consumer” in product
type, “plastic doll” in free text search,
choose “2014, 2013” in year,
select “serious” under risk type and type
“chemical” in risk)