• Toxic toys abound near schools

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    An environment and health watchdog on Sunday, urged parents to prevent their children from buying toys sold outside their schools after finding out that assorted toys containing harmful chemicals are available in retail stores outside 38 public elementary schools in Metro Manila.

    The EcoWaste Coalition said that, they tested 325 samples of assorted toys available in stores outside elementary schools in the cities of Caloocan, Makati, Malabon, Manila, Pasay, Quezon and Taguig and found that 125 of the toys tested contained high levels of toxic chemicals that could pose threats to children’s health.

    The group-tested toys like sipa, trumpo, jolen, fun lipstick and make-up set, play rings, and action figures, among others.

    Their test revealed that most of them contains harmful chemicals such as arsenic, antimony, cadmium, chromium, lead and mercury.

    “We deplore the sale of these poison toys that in the eyes of innocent children are harmless and fun to play with,” EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect Coordinator Thony Dizon said.

    “Unknown to these young consumers, playing with such toxic toys can expose them to lead, especially when they put these things into their mouths that kids often do,” he added.

    The EcoWaste Coalition was alarmed after learning that these toys can be bought easily by young school children because of their cheap prices.

    The group said that most of the toys only cost P5 to P50 each.

    The group added that some of the products contain lead, a potent neurotoxin, of up to 37,900 parts per million (ppm), higher than the US set limit of 90 ppm. It added that some toys also contain mercury, another neurotoxin, of up to 306 ppm.

    It revealed that mercury was discovered in 18 samples of play lipstick and make-up and said that the mercury level in these toys was way above the Association of Southeast Asian Nations limit of 1 ppm for cosmetics.

    “The lead ingested by a child seeps into the bloodstream and gets distributed to body cells, tissues and organs with the nervous system as the main target for toxicity,” Dizon said.

    “The developing brains and nervous systems of young children are most susceptible to the injurious and irreversible effects of lead,” Dizon pointed out.

    The EcoWaste Coalition, moreover, detected lead in the plastic containers of candy products.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) had declared that “lead poisoning is a serious child health concern.”

    It warned that “there is no known safe blood lead level but it is known that, as lead exposure increases, the range and severity of symptoms and effects also increases.”

    The WHO added that like lead, “exposure to mercury even in small amounts may cause serious health problems . . . neurological and behavioral disorders may be observed after inhalation, ingestion or dermal exposure of different mercury compounds.”

    The EcoWaste Coalition appealed to toy vendors to only sell duly labeled and registered non-toxic toys to ensure the safety of the school children.

    Fatima Cielo B. Cancel

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