Kids told to steer clear of leaded art materials

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THE EcoWaste Coalition on Friday urged the public to shun art materials that contain lead, a dangerous substance, especially for young children.

The group issued the statement after finding a watercolor set with lead on sale in the market despite being banned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

On August 31, the FDA through Advisory No. 2017-26 warned the public against buying and using Ultra Colours jumbo crayons and Xiao Yiren watercolor for containing lead above the maximum allowed limit of 90 parts per million (ppm).

This is the second time that the FDA banned a watercolor product for containing lead.

In 2014, it banned Artex watercolor for its excessive lead content as reported to the agency by the EcoWaste Coalition.

In test buys conducted on September 7, the coalition purchased Xiao Yiren watercolor from a retail establishment in Sta. Cruz, Manila.

“We urge the public to steer clear of art coloring products laden with lead, a substance that is banned in the production of school supplies,” said Thony Dizon, coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

“We also appeal to concerned manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers to strictly observe the country’s regulatory policy that seeks to protect children from preventable sources of lead exposure,” he said.

“We further appeal to all local government units and law enforcement agencies to assist the FDA in ensuring that the banned products are not sold in their areas of jurisdiction,” he added.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Administrative Order 2013-24, or the Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds, prohibits the use of lead in the manufacture of school supplies, toys, and other products. It further sets a 90 ppm limit for lead in paint and provides for the phaseout of paints exceeding such limit.

According to the advisory signed by FDA Director General Nela Charade Puno, “Lead is dangerous even at low exposure levels producing a spectrum of injury across multiple body systems.”

“Lead affects the brain development of children resulting in reduced intelligence quotient, behavioral changes such as reduced attention span and increased anti-social behavior, and reduced educational attainment,” the FDA warned.

“Their hand-to-mouth behavior, as well as their innate curiosity, predisposes them to put objects in their mouth resulting in unintended exposure to multiple hazardous substances such as lead,” the FDA added.

The FDA strongly advised the public to buy and use art coloring products and school supplies that are registered and notified with the agency, supplied or distributed by FDA-licensed establishments and sold by legitimate outlets.

Republic Act No. 9711 (the FDA Act), as well as Republic Act No. 7394 (Consumer Act of the Philippines), prohibit the manufacture, distribution, sale or offering for sale or use, advertisement, promotion, and transport, among others, of health products that are unregistered, adulterated or misbranded.

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