EcoWaste Coalition Finds Lead in Painted Turumpo (Boys Cautioned on Toxic Turumpo)

Playing turumpo, the cone-shaped whipping toy that is very popular among
young boys these days, may bring harm instead of fun, an advocacy group against
toxic chemicals and for children’s health said today.

The EcoWaste Coalition aired the warning after screening 25 new wooden tops for
toxic metals using a portable X-Ray Fluorescence analyzer and finding lead, a
highly toxic substance, in 19 of them.

The Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources last December prohibits the use of lead in the production of toys.

The said policy also sets a threshold limit of 90 parts per million (ppm) for lead in paints, which is also the US federal standard for lead in paint and surface coatings.

The turumpo samples, all unlabeled, were obtained for P15 to P20 each from stores close by the Santo Niño Elementary School and in the Marikina Public Market in Marikina City, and shops at the back of Doña Josefa Elementary School in the Murphy Public Market in Quezon City.

The screening indicated the presence of lead up to 7,193 parts per million (ppm) in 19 tops.

All the 19 leaded tops also screened positive for arsenic up to 1,073 ppm and chromium up to 4,593 ppm.

“Not all turumpo are created equal, and it’s not only with the way they
spin and swirl,” declared Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s
Project Protect.

“Nowadays, there are tops coated with leaded paints and there are tops covered
with unleaded paints,” he said.

“Aside from eye damage and other bodily injuries due to improper use, kids
should be wary about the paint coatings on their turumpo,” he said.

Dizon explained that the paint will break off as the turumpo is hit and
damaged by opponents during top targeting that is well-liked by players.

“Top targeting disturbs the paint on the surface of the turumpo, causing the
lead in paint to turn into toxic lead dust that kids unknowingly inhale or
ingest.  Children are most susceptible to lead exposure due to their
common hand-to-mouth activities,” he added.

Lead is a neurotoxicant or a chemical poison that harms the brain and the
nervous system, the EcoWaste Coalition reminded.

Studies have linked lead exposure early in life to lowered IQ, speech and
language difficulties, hearing loss, decreased bone and muscle growth,
increased blood pressure, kidney damage, behavioral problems and even
aggressive and violent behavior.

Lead is also an endocrine disrupting chemical that may interfere with the
body’s natural hormones, causing adverse developmental, neurological,
reproductive and immune effects in humans as well as wildlife

The World Health Organization has included lead as one of the “ten chemicals of
major public health concern.”

“Since kids and even adults would have no way of distinguishing which ones are
lead-safe, it’s safer to simply pick plain turumpo with no coatings and be
extra careful when playing with it,” Dizon pointed out.