Lead Safe Toys? Pwede Pala! (Toxics Watchdog Finds No Lead in 25 Colorful Wooden Toys)


“Lead safe
toys?  Pwede pala!”

The non-profit toxics watchdog EcoWaste Coalition voiced this comment at the
press briefing held today to announce its discovery of 25 brightly colored
wooden toys that are safe from lead, a brain damaging and endocrine disrupting
chemical and a probable cancer causing agent in humans.

“All 25 samples of colorful wooden toys that we examined were compliant with
the government’s policy outlawing lead in the making of toys,” stated Thony
Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

Dizon was referring to the Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds
promulgated by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources last
December 2013 that strictly prohibits the use of lead in the manufacturing of

“It’s a concrete indicator that toys can be livened up with lead safe coatings
that pose no hazards to an innocent child,” he pointed out.

Lead, one of the 10 chemicals of major public health concern worldwide, can permanently
damage the brain and the central nervous system and consequently harm cognitive
functions, decrease IQ and cause behavioral problems.

“The fact that most of the samples were imported from China should send a clear
signal to local toy manufacturers who have yet to toe the line to make the
switch right away,” he further emphasized.

Dizon brought to mind that previous screenings of locally-made wooden playthings
such as toy ukuleles and play tops (turumpo)
found elevated levels of lead on their surface coatings, making them illegal to
sell not only in the Philippines, but in US and other industrialized

For her part, pediatric toxicologist Dr. Bessie Antonio from the East Avenue
Medical Center said: “Our children can be exposed to lead by inhaling or
ingesting lead-containing dust and paint chips. 
Because they spend a lot of time on the floor and tend to put their
hands, toys and other objects in their mouths, kids, especially those aged six
years and under, are at highest risk for lead poisoning. The fact that no level
of lead in children’s blood is considered safe should move society into
eradicating all preventable sources of lead exposure.”


For its latest round of test buys
conducted between July 11 to 18, the EcoWaste Coalition procured 25 samples
with prices ranging from P16 to P449.75 from formal and informal retailers,
including discount stores in 168 and 999 Shopping Malls in Divisoria, as well
as from National Book Store, Shopwise and SM Toy Kingdom Express in Harrison
Plaza, Malate, Daiso Japan and Toys R Us in Robinsons Place, Ermita,  Booksale, Paco and Isetann Department Store,
Quiapo, Manila.

The samples, comprised of alphabet and
number toys, animal, flower and shape jigsaw puzzles, pet animal figures,
musical instruments, pull toys and other playthings, were wholly or partially
painted with yellow, blue, green, orange, pink, purple and red coatings.

As per screening using a portable X-Ray Fluorescence device, the surface
coatings of the 25 wooden toys were found to contain no detectable levels of