• Beware of rain gear with toxic chemicals, Ecowaste warns

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    AN ecologicial watch group has warned parents against buying rain boots, coats and umbrellas that contain toxic chemicals that can put their children’s health at risk.

    The EcoWaste Coalition released the warning after it said it found that 23 of the 33 rain gear products for children sold in Divisoria, Manila, were positive for lead and cadmium.

    EcoWaste said lead and cadmium were “two nasty chemicals listed in the World Health Organization’s Ten Chemicals of Major Public Health Concern.”

    The group said that using an X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) spectrometer, it found excessive levels of lead up to 15,500 parts per million (ppm), and cadmium of up to 717 ppm, in 70 percent of the 33 common rain protection items tested.

    Among the items analyzed were 25 raincoats, five umbrellas and three pairs of rain boots that Ecowaste bought on June 1 for P50 to P250 from 10 shops at 11/88 Shopping Mall, 168 Shopping Mall, 999 Shopping Mall and the Tutuban Prime Block Mall in Divisoria.

    “Our investigation shows that many rain protection products contain poison chemicals that may leach or disperse into the surroundings over time.  Parents need to pay attention to this health threat as children’s developing bodies are very vulnerable to chemical hazards,” said Aileen Lucero, Ecowaste’s acting national coordinator.

    “There is simply no justification for brain-damaging and cancer-causing chemicals in products designed and marketed for children’s use,” she emphasized.

    To prevent toxic exposure, the EcoWaste Coalition advised consumers to read product labels carefully and avoid PVC materials, which are known for their strong chemical odor, since they contain numerous toxic additives like cadmium and lead used as pigments or stabilizers.

    The group also advised parents to regularly check the condition of the products used by their kids for any signs of wear and tear, and to frequently remind kids to wash their hands thoroughly, especially before snacks or meals.

    According to the WHO, “lead is a cumulative toxicant that affects multiple body systems, including the neurologic, hematologic, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and renal systems.”

    “Children are particularly vulnerable to the neurotoxic effects of lead, and even relatively low levels of exposure can cause serious and in some cases irreversible neurological damage,” the WHO warned.

    “Cadmium exerts toxic effects on the kidney, the skeletal and the respiratory systems, and is classified as a human carcinogen,” the WHO further said. FATIMA CIELO B. CANCEL

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