8 October 2018, Quezon City. A waste and pollution watchdog group cautioned consumers against buying toys with plastic material containing hazardous chemicals banned in toys by the Department of Health (DOH).
The EcoWaste Coalition made the warning after laboratory test results showed two toy samples procured from Divisoria retailers laden with banned phthalates, which are plasticizers added to polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic to make it softer or more pliable.
“Parents should not allow their children to play with toys laden with phthalates that can leach, especially when the toy is chewed or sucked. Exposure to phthalates may impair the health of children, causing damage to their endocrine and reproductive systems,” stated Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
According to the introductory guide on endocrine disrupting chemicals published by the Endocrine Society and IPEN, “phthalate exposure is linked to genital abnormalities in boys, reduced sperm counts; decreased ‘male typical’ play in boys; endometriosis; and elements of metabolic disruption including obesity.”
DOH Administrative Order 2009-0005-A as amended in 2011 prohibits the manufacture, importation, distribution and sale of children’s toys containing more than 0.1 percent by weight of di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP) or benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP).
The said regulation also prohibits diisononyl phthalate (DINP), diisodecyl phthalate (DIDP), or di-n-octyl phthalate (DnOP) in children’s toys that can be placed in a child’s mouth in concentrations above 0.1 percent.
According to the test results, the plastic parts of a “Super” baseball set with bat and glove costing P300 had 0.988 percent of DEHP exceeding the 0.1 percent limit.
The other sample, a “Mommy’s Baby Collection” plastic doll costing P200, was found to contain 0.915 percent of DBP and 2.82 percent of DEHP, which are also beyond the maximum limit set by law.
Dizon pointed out that both toy samples had no labeling information indicating the products contained phthalates.
“BBP, DBP, DEHP, DIDP, DINP and DnOP are banned in children’s toys not only in the Philippines, but also in Canada, US, Japan, Korea, and Europe,” said Dizon who also noted DEHP’s classification as a “probable human carcinogen” by the US Environmental Protection Agency.
To address the problem, the group urged the DOH and the FDA to go after the manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers of plastic toys containing prohibited phthalates.
The group further appealed to toy makers to shift to non-PVC materials and to reveal the chemical ingredients of their products, as well as to indicate health and safety information, including precautionary warnings, on the label to guide consumers.