Candidates in the 2016 elections must stop distributing baller bands as giveaways in their sorties for they might contain high levels of toxic lead, a group warned on Wednesday.
The Ecowaste Coalition detected lead content in 27 out of 30 baller bands purchased from various stores in Manila, ranging from 1,325 to 8,465 parts per million (ppm).
“Made-to-order baller bands are popular campaign giveaways. Sadly, not all baller bands are equal as there are types that contain harmful chemicals,” Thony Dizon, coordinator of the Ecowaste Coalition’s Project Protect, said in a statement.
The group previously issued several warnings on purchase of items made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) because of their high lead content, which can be harmful to one’s health, especially children.
“While not originally intended for children, these wrist accessories may end up in children’s hands and mouths and directly expose them to lead, [which can attack their]brain and central nervous system,” Dizon said.
Lead is a cumulative toxic substance that can affect multiple body systems when exposed, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Children are considered the most vulnerable to toxic effects of lead.
The World Health Organization has ranked lead as one of top ten chemicals of major public health concern in the world.
To avoid giving away potentially harmful campaign souvenirs, all candidates from political parties and party-list groups were advised to obtain a certificate of analysis from vendors, confirming that their wares do not contain lead and other hazardous chemicals.
“In this manner, political aspirants avoid spending for campaign materials that can poison human health and harm the environment,” Dizon said.
The Ecowaste Coalition is strongly advocating a “green and trash-free” campaign and election season for the 2016 national and local polls.
Recently, the group recommended to the Commission on Elections to reinforce Comelec Resolution 961, which “encourages parties and candidates to use recyclable and environment-friendly materials, and avoid those that contain hazardous chemicals and substances in the production of their campaign and election paraphernalia.”