EcoWaste warns shoppers against mislabeled toys for Christmas goodies
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Some toys may be cute and affordable, but that does not necessarily mean they are safe.
As the Christmas season approaches, gift-hunting especially for the kids has also started to kick off. But a health and environment advocacy group warned gift-shoppers against buying “insufficiently labeled” products to ensure the safety of the gift recipients particularly the unsuspecting children.
“We ask consumers to make use of their purchasing power to promote industry compliance to the toy labeling and packaging requirements, which are essential for injury prevention and child safety,” said Eco Waste Coalition Chemical Safety Campaigner Thony Dizon in a statement.
Read: Republic Act No. 10620
Under the Toy and Game Safety Labeling Act, toy and games products should bear in their labels their license to operate (LTO) number issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), age grading, cautionary statements or warnings, instructional literature, manufacturer’s marking, and the item, model, stock-keeping unit (SKU) number.
Despite the promulgation of the law’s implementing rules and regulations (IRR) in 2019, EcoWaste said several toy products still lacked the required labels.
EcoWaste collected at least 27 toy samples during their toy safety monitoring for September from four establishments in Quiapo, Manila. The items are priced between P39.95 to P199 apiece.
Out of the sample toys collected, EcoWaste said only six of the products had fully complied with the labeling requirement.
Of the remaining 21 samples, nine had no label at all; 10 had no warning statement; 17 had no age grade information; and all had no item, model, SKU number; no or incomplete name and address of the toy manufacturer or distributor; and lacked the LTO number from FDA. One toy product, meanwhile, had its labels written in foreign characters.
The group also raised their concern over the hazard risk of the cute but “not so safe” items.
“For example, an attractive wooden toy with tiny components measuring 1.3 cm in diameter provided no “choking hazard” warning. Choking occurs when an object obstructs the throat, blocking the airway and making it difficult for the child to breathe,” the group said.
“Several cute and squeaky animal toys that children can put into their mouths provided no information about their phthalate content. Phthalates are industrial chemicals added to polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic to make them soft and pliable. Known as endocrine-disrupting chemicals, health authorities worldwide, including the Philippines, have banned certain phthalates in toys above 0.1 percent,” they added.
The group also warned against the promo bundles of some stores where the dealers pack together unmarked toys with no labeling information. The promo packs, having several items at a lower price could be practically enticing for buyers but the group said this could not be equal to safety.
EcoWaste said it would continue its monthly toy monitoring leading to this year’s Christmas celebration./dbs
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