With the holiday rush underway, the Department of Health (DOH) called on the public to be cautious in buying toys for children that may endanger their health.
Health Secretary Janette Garin said toys must be age-appropriate, as well as safe from toxic substances such as lead and other dangerous materials.
A safe toy is defined by the DOH as “suitable to the child’s physical capabilities, mental and social development, durable, and safe for the child’s age.”
The agency also advised against balls that may be tiny enough to cause choking and other injuries, such as those with a diameter of 1.75 inches or less, those that are easily broken, and toys with small, detachable parts.
Meanwhile, the Ecowaste Coalition issued a warning about the presence of high levels of the toxic lead content in low-priced toys.
“Toxic substances should not be present in children’s products such as toys that are meant to help stimulate the senses, explore the creativity, and build the skills of kids in a fun and enjoyable way. Children’s developing brains and bodies are particularly susceptible to the harmful effects of chemical exposure early in life,” Thony Dizon, Coordinator of Ecowaste Coalition’s Project Protect, said in a statement.
The World Health Organization (WHO) ranked lead as one of the world’s top 10 chemicals considered as major public health hazards.
Children are considered most vulnerable to lead’s toxic effects, which can affect their central nervous system and cause other developmental problems when exposed to the substance.
The allowable limit of lead present in paint is 90 parts per million under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds.
The DENR Order also bans the use of lead in toy production.
Likewise, Garin advised all toy manufacturers, importers, and distributors to secure a Certificate of Conformity from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure that there are no hazardous chemicals or materials present in their products.
In addition, the public was reminded to buy toys only from licensed retailers.