The EcoWaste Coalition divulged its most recent discovery about “dirty” products as bargain hunters flock to tiangge markets to buy inexpensive Christmas giveaways during the yuletide season.
As part of its drive to urge consumers to be on the lookout for hazardous chemicals in products, the EcoWaste Coalition over the weekend bought 17 gift items in Quiapo and Santa Cruz, Manila and had them analyzed for toxic metals.
“We looked around for easy-on-the-pocket and trendy children’s products and settled for items bearing images of wingless ‘Angry Birds.’ We presume these are imitation products tapping into the popularity of ‘Angry Birds’ game,” stated Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.
The “Angry Birds” products, costing P5 to P80, were bought from informal vendors in Carriedo St. and Lacson Underpass, Quiapo and in Rizal Ave., Santa Cruz.
The items were tested for lead and other metals on December 13 using a portable X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) analyzer conducted by representatives of QES (Manila), Inc.
Extreme quantities of lead, a neurotoxin that has no safe level for childhood exposure, were found in 12 samples with one item packed with 17,000 ppm of lead in excess of the US regulatory limit of 90 ppm.
“As a precautionary measure, we urge the authorities to stop the sale of these dirty products before the notorious poison wrecks havoc in children’s growing brains,” he said.
All three samples of “Angry Birds” mugs were “dirty” with the “dirtiest” sample containing 17,000 ppm of lead, 3,351 of cadmium, 3,068 ppm of chromium, 2,769 ppm of arsenic and 713 ppm of antimony.
All four samples of “Angry Birds” children’s PVC-made bags were found “dirty” with a pink backpack having 5,336 ppm of lead, 6,661 ppm of chromium and 886 ppm of arsenic.
All three samples of “Angry Birds” kids’ footwear had lead with the strap of one sample filled with 3,841 ppm of lead.
A petite eraser with “Angry Birds” design was found loaded with 177 ppm of cadmium.
According to Dr. Bessie Antonio, President of the Philippine Society of Clinical and Occupational Toxicology: “Exposure to lead could cause a host of health issues such as decreased bone and muscle growth, hearing loss, speech and language disorders, behavioral problems, learning disabilities and decreased intelligence. Even low level exposure can have a lifetime effect on a young child.”
“Lead in paint maybe swallowed, inhaled or absorbed by the skin. Because of their hand-to-mouth activities, children are more vulnerable to lead exposure,” she pointed out.
The EcoWaste Coalition has asked Rovio Entertainment Ltd., the Finland-based licensee of “Angry Birds” merchandise, to confirm or deny if any of the tainted samples were on their authorized product lines.
The company has yet to respond to the group’s e-mail query.
“Angry Birds,” a puzzle video game created by Rovio Mobile, is highly popular and has exceeded half a billion downloads worlwide, according to www.rovio.com.
Due to its immense popularity, “Angry Birds” can now be seen in various licensed as well as counterfeit products such as accessories, bags, comics, costumes, footwear, jewelry, pillows, posters , shirts and, of course, toys.