Beware of Toxic Rain Coats – EcoWaste Coalition

A toxics watchdog wasted no
time in urging parents to get extra picky with rain gear choices for their
children with the onset of the rainy season.

The EcoWaste Coalition specifically advised parents to
avoid rain coats made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic, which contains
numerous toxic additives that are released to the environment over the lifespan
of the product.

Among these toxic additives is lead, a toxic metal that
can harm the brain and the central nervous system, as well as disrupt the
normal function of the endocrine system.

The EcoWaste Coalition issued its latest toxic alert
after receiving laboratory confirmation that five out of six samples of PVC
rain coats the group bought for P130 to P200 each from discount stores in
Divisoria, Manila and Baclaran, Pasay City contain excessive lead.
As per analysis conducted by SGS, a global testing
company, the five samples had lead in the range of 164 parts per million (ppm)
to 574 ppm, way above the permissible limit of 100 ppm for lead in accessible
substrate materials under the US Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.
Among these leaded samples were:
a.  A “Tweety Bird”
yellow rain coat with 574 ppm of lead (yellow material)
b.  A yellow
student rain coat with 243 ppm of lead
c.  A “Winnie the
Pooh” yellow rain coat with 217 ppm of lead
d.  A “Tweety Bird”
yellow rain coat with 190 ppm of lead (cartoon figure)
e.  A “Mickey
Mouse” blue rain coat with 164 ppm of lead
“While it’s true these rain coats can prevent kids from
getting wet, the lead and other hazardous substances on the PVC plastic
material or design may make them sick in the long term and pollute the
environment as well,” warned Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste
Coalition’s Project Protect.
Lead and other toxins are unavoidably discharged into the
environment as products age, corrode  and
are finally discarded and disposed of, Dizon said. 
Kids are more vulnerable to environmental toxins because
they breathe more air, eat more food and drink more water, and are often
exposed to harmful substances resulting from their usual hand-to-mouth
activities, and because their vital organs and systems are still developing,
Dizon explained.
Specifically, lead, which can enter the body mainly by
ingestion or inhalation, is most harmful for children because it can damage or
retard brain development and cause many health problems, including learning
disabilities, lower IQ scores, shorter attention span, poor impulse control and
aggressive behavior.
For parents, the EcoWaste Coalition urged them to look
for non-PVC rain gears such as those made from alternative rain-repulsing
materials with least toxic components.     
The group also advised parents to constantly check the
condition of products used by their children for any signs of wear and tear,
and to habitually remind kids to wash their hands thoroughly after playing and
before eating.
For the manufacturers, the EcoWaste Coalition asked them
to abide by the strict prohibition on the use of lead in the production of
school supplies under the DENR’s Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead
In this regard, the group asked manufacturers of school
supplies such as rain coats and other children’s products to:
1.  Phase out lead
and other toxic chemicals in the production process and shift to safer
2.  Disclose chemical content information
of their product as a condition for sale.

3.  Respect the consumers’ “right to
know” about chemicals in products, including the provision of complete and
truthful labeling to promote consumer choice.