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  • Beware Of Possibly Hazardous Toys This Christmas Season, Says Environmental Group

    The group also shared tips to ensure the safety and quality of toys you buy this Christmas.
    by Kate Borbon .
Beware Of Possibly Hazardous Toys This Christmas Season, Says Environmental Group
PHOTO BY iStock
  • Environmental group EcoWaste Coalition is asking the public to be more discerning when shopping for toys to give their children this Christmas season.

    At a press briefing held on November 24, 2019, the EcoWaste Coalition and Laban Konsyumer, Inc. encouraged Filipinos to actively look for information on the toys they purchase this holiday season and make sure these are safe for kids to use.

    “We appeal to all gift-givers to be extra careful when buying toys as the market is flooded with dangerous toys that are often unlabeled and unregistered,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner at the EcoWaste Coalition.

    “While toys are generally fun and safe to play with, there are toys that can pose various hazards from chemical poisoning, choking, skin laceration, strangulation and even injury to sensitive body parts like the eyes and ears.”

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    Dizon also called on toy manufacturers to refrain from selling products that have not been proven safe for children to use.

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    “As children are vulnerable to the negative effects of poorly made and toxic toys, toymakers, distributors and retailers must be responsible enough not to offer toys that have not passed quality and safety verification, including compliance to product labeling requirements.”

    Atty. Vic Dimagiba, President of Laban Konsyumer, Inc., emphasized the importance of heightened monitoring of toys in the market to make sure that potentially-hazardous products are not made available to the public.

    “As shoppers flock to their favorite stores, the government needs to assure customers that toys being sold in the market are not only affordable, but also properly labeled and of good quality,” said Atty. Dimagiba.

    “Sustained monitoring of the marketplace is needed to stop the sale of toys and other popular Christmas products that may inflict harm to children’s health.”

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    Dr. Bessie Antonio, a clinical toxicologist from East Avenue Medical Center, shared that some toys in the market contain substances that can be dangerous to kids, like endocrine-disrupting chemicals, heavy metals, and persistent organic pollutants.

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    “Consumers should avoid toys containing hazardous chemicals,” she said. “Lead in painted toys, in particular, may be ingested by children through normal hand-to-mouth behavior. Chronic exposure to lead can interfere with a child’s growth and development resulting in lower intelligence quotient (IQ), poor school performance, reduced attention span, and anti-social [behavior].”

    These tips follow the alarming results of the EcoWaste Coalition’s latest toy sampling, which was conducted in the cities of Baguio, Manila, Cebu, and Davao and involved 156 toys.

    They found that 20 of the toys contained lead levels higher than the regulatory limit of 90 parts per million and that some toys also contained trace amounts of heavy metals like antimony, arsenic, cadmium, and chromium.

    85 of the toys had small parts that could pose choking hazards, and some were found to pose eye injury, laceration, and strangulation hazards.

    Lastly, none of the toys had the complete product label and information mandated by Republic Act No. 10620 or the Toy and Game Safety Labeling Act and its Implementing Rules and Regulations.

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    EcoWaste Coalition’s tips for safe toys

    Because toys are popular presents for kids during Christmas, the EcoWaste Coalition shared the following tips for customers to heed when purchasing toys.

    1. Choose age-appropriate toys.

    Check the recommended age on the product label and select one that is suitable for your child’s age, abilities, and maturity level.

    2. Choose durable and well-made toys.

    Aside from being more long-lasting, well-made toys also do not contain parts that break or fall apart even if they are used frequently.

    3. Avoid toys with small parts that can be choking hazards.

    According to the group, a general rule to follow is to choose toys with parts that are bigger than a child’s mouth, so he cannot put them in his mouth and potentially choke on them.

    4. Avoid toys with cords that are longer than 12 inches.

    Toys with longer cords or strings can be wrapped around a child’s neck and cause strangulation incidents.

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    5. Choose injury-free toys.

    Make sure to avoid toys that can “injure a child’s ears, eyes, skin, and body,” according to the group’s statement. Examples are toys with pointed parts, sharp edges, and which eject small objects, like toy guns.

    6. Avoid lead-painted toys.

    The group advises against buying painted toys unless there is an assurance that the paint used does not contain lead, which can cause adverse effects like intellectual impairment.

    7. Avoid toys made of PVC plastic.

    Toys made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic may contain chemical additives like toxic phthalates which can leach out when they are chewed or sucked on.

    8. Patronize labeled and registered toy and childcare articles (TCCAs).

    TCCAs have undergone quality and safety assessments by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

    Click here to learn about 10 of the best developmental toys you can get for your toddler.

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