EcoWaste Coalition testing reveals toxic toys remain in the market

Chemical safety and children’s health advocacy network
EcoWaste Coalition found more than half of the 100 toys it sampled from
Baclaran positive for lead and other heavy metals.

In the
screening, employing x-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometer, 56 of the 100 toy
samples (56%) had at least one toxic metal above levels of concern, 48 of which
had lead exceeding the 90 parts per million (ppm) limit for lead in paints and
surface coatings.

“Even at much
lower doses, lead, a potent neurotoxin, can harm children, the toy
manufacturers’ target consumers,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste
Coalition’s Project Protect.

“Children are
usually curious  and playful, and would
try doing anything with their toys including putting the latter in their
mouths, making them a lot more vulnerable to the toxic substances in the toys,”
noted Dizon.

The following
lists the top 10 lead-contaminated samples, mostly kiddie watches:

1. Yellow
strap snow white kiddie watch, 5,425 ppm

2. Yellow
strap spiderman kiddie watch, 4,952 ppm

3. Green
strap snow white kiddie watch, 4,410 ppm

4. Light Blue
strap snow white kiddie watch, 4,250 ppm

5. Pink strap
dora kiddie watch, 3,850 ppm

6. Orange
dora kiddie watch, 2,893 ppm

7. Yellow
smile laser light, 2619 ppm

8. Yellow
strap snow white kiddie watch, 3,055 ppm

9. Red strap
spongebob kiddie watch, 2,770 ppm

10. Solid
fluff art and gold powder picture frame, 2,621 ppm

According to
the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, lead can affect almost
any organ and system in the body, with the nervous system as its main

The World
Health Organization has listed “lead-caused mental retardation” as a recognized
disease in the face of evidence of reduced intelligence caused by childhood
lead exposure.

“It is
worrisome that all the 100 samples either have incomplete or no product labels
at all, which prevent consumers from making informed choice,” Dizon emphasized.

scrutiny of the samples further reveal that they also have no ‘license to
operate’ number printed on their labels, signifying that most samples were not
duly registered and noncompliant with the Philippine National Standards (PNS)
for Safety of Toys,” Dizon added.

Of the 56
samples that show high lead levels beyond standard, 30 also contain one or more
of other heavy metals, namely antimony, chromium, and arsenic, indicating a
risk of multiple exposure to different chemicals of concern.

The Coalition
maintained that all these heavy metals pose serious adverse health impacts to
those exposed to them, such as mainly through ingestion and inhalation, and in
minimal cases through dermal absorption.

The items were purchased by the EcoWaste Coalition on October 7 from various
toy stores in Sto. Nino Street and J. Gabrielle Street; and from ambulant
vendors near Pasay LRT Station, and Terminal Mall 1, Pasay City. They vary in
cost from P25 – P150.

As the
countdown for the Christmas season continues, the EcoWaste Coalition has
stepped up its “Kid Safe Toys for Zero Harm and Zero Waste” Campaign,
reiterating its call to consumers, as well as to authorities, to be vigilant
against potentially harmful toys and other children’s products in the