16 October 2017

Many Toys Sold in Davao Improperly Labeled (Group Pushes Proper Toy Labeling to Ensure Children’s Safety)

 Inadequately labeled toys bought in Davao City

Toy samples with high lead content

Davao City/Quezon City.  As the observance of the Consumer Welfare Month gets underway, a non-profit watch group drew attention to toys sold in Davao City that lack the required product labeling information.

“We have bought assorted toys from various retail outlets in Davao City to check on their compliance with the required labeling information, which is very important to guide consumers on picking the right toy for a child that will not pose risk to her or his health and safety,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

The toy products, costing P15 to P265 each, were obtained by the group from various retail stores in Uyanguren, Davao City on September 22 to 24, 2017.

The toys were brought to the office of the EcoWaste Coalition in Quezon City for product label examination and for heavy metal screening using an X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) chemical analyzer.  

Out of 71 toy samples, only three were found to be compliant with the mandatory toy labeling information required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency that oversees the product notification scheme for toy and childcare articles (TCCAs).

As per FDA Circular 2014-023, duly notified TCCAs should contain the following product labeling labeling information: license to operate (LTO) number, age grade, cautionary statements/ warnings, instructional literature, item/ model/ stock keeping unit (SKU) number, and manufacturer’s marking, including the complete name and address of the manufacturer or distributor.

Five of the toy samples indicated valid LTO numbers on the labels as verified through the FDA website, the group noted.

Of the 71 toy samples, 18 were found to contain lead, a toxic chemical that can have serious effects for the health of children, above the regulatory limit of 90 parts per million (ppm).

High lead concentrations up to 8,105 ppm were detected on the paint coatings of five turumpo, a popular outdoor game among boys.  The wooden whipping tops have zero labeling information.

“The use of lead-containing paints to decorate turumpo and other toys is a brazen violation of the country’s lead paint regulation,” Dizon said.

DENR Administrative Order 2013-24, or the Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds, strictly prohibits the use of lead paint in the production of toys, among other things.

Improperly labeled toys should not be offered for sale in the market if only Republic Act 10620, or the Toy and Game Safety Labeling Act of 2013, is enforced, the EcoWaste Coalition said.

Under the said law, toy products “not in compliance with the requirements of this Act shall be considered a misbranded or banned hazardous substance… and withdrawn from the market.”
   
R.A. 10620 states that non-compliant toys and games “shall be withdrawn from the market at the expense of the manufacturer or importer and shall not be allowed to be distributed, sold or offered for sale in the Philippines.”

Approved in September 2013, R.A. 10620 requires the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to “regularly publish every six months the list of all manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers who failed to comply with the requirements” of this law.

It further requires the Department of Health (DOH) to “publish every six months the list of all misbranded or banned hazardous substances the sale, offer for sale and distribution of which shall not be allowed” under R.A. 10620.

To date, the DTI and DOH have yet to promulgate the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of R.A. 10620.

“We hope concerned groups in Davao and elsewhere will join us in demanding the promulgation of R.A. 10620’s IRR for the health and safety of our children as toy consumers,” Dizon said.

The EcoWaste Coalition and Laban Konsyumer, Inc., a consumer protection group, have been asking the authorities to release the much-delayed IRR toward the full enforcement of R.A. 10620.

-end-

Reference:

http://www.lawphil.net/statute s/repacts/ra2013/ra_10620_ 2013.html

07 October 2017

Urban Poor Residents Get their Hands Dirty to Grow Organic Food , Keep Communities Clean







Over 150 urban poor residents from Camarin, Caloocan City literally got their hands dirty today for a solution-focused event to combat malnutrition and pollution.   

To mark the Green Action Week (GAW) on October 2 to 8, the EcoWaste Coalition in collaboration with Buklod Tao and the Urban Poor Associates (UPA) organized a hands-on skillshare in San Mateo, Rizal on how to raise organic vegetables through container gardening and how to turn biodegradable discards into compost.  


GAW is a global campaign promoting sustainable consumption initiated by the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, 
Sweden’s oldest and largest environmental organization and a partner of the EcoWaste Coalition.

“We have gathered today for a face-to-face learning with Buklod Tao community leaders on organic farming and composting that can help urban poor families improve nutritional intake as well as prevent trash from stinking,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.  


Dizon cited government data indicating high chronic malnutrition rate at over 25% in 2015 among children from age 0 to 2 that is aggravated by the unchecked consumption of foods high in trans fat, sugar and salt.  


“The lack of physical space should not discourage urban poor households from organically growing basic vegetables using repurposed containers such as juice packs, tin cans and plastic bottles, which can be placed in front of a house, by the rooftop or arranged as hanging planters,” he said.


“Venturing into organic food gardening will also encourage our households to segregate their discards at source and turn fruit and vegetable peelings and other biodegradables into compost,” added Noli Abinales, adviser, Buklod Tao, a people’s organization advocating for an environmentally-responsible and climate-resilient community.


“Composting is a key solution to the poor waste management in many communities, which can lead to a host of environmental and health problems such as the spread of diseases, flooding and global warming,” he said.


Abinales noted that Metro Manila generates 9,499 tons of waste per day consisting of biodegradable 
(44.32%), recyclable (31.64%), residuals (23.68) and special (0.36%) wastes as per waste characterization and analysis by the Metro Manila Development Authority.

UPA community leader Luz Sudueste from 
Caloocan City expressed her hope that similar skillshares will  be held in all urban poor communities with support from national and local authorities and civil society groups.

“Organic food gardening and composting is beneficial for our families and our environment.  We hope that similar trainings will be conducted in urban poor communities nationwide to help address the people’s need for nutritious food and for better waste management and sanitation,” she said.   


The participants brought home with them vegetable saplings planted on compost-enriched soil in a recycled pot container made out of juice packs courtesy of Buklod Tao.


The participants came from various groups including the Camarin Balikatan Community Association, Dagat-Dagatan Camarin Homeowners’ Association, Epiphany of the Lord Credit Cooperative, Kapatiran ng mga Maralita sa Camarin, Mabini-Lapu-Lapu Neighborhood Association, Samahan ng mga Responsableng Anak ng Nayon, and the San Vicente Ferrer Urban Coordinating Development Association.


-end-  

Go organic for a greener planet!

Does it matter if it´s organic or not? The short answer is yes, it does. It makes a difference for you, your children, the bees, the farmers, the trees and the rivers. It makes an important difference to our planet. Organic food and farming for all is the Green Action Week theme for 2013-2017.
5 reasons to choose organic food

1. Toxic free!

Organic farming does not use agrochemicals like pesticides as these can be harmful for the environment and human health. Pesticides pose a risk to the health of farming families and people working on farms, who are directly exposed. But also to those living nearby who may be exposed to spray drift, polluted water, soil or waste from the farms. Research shows that eating organic food reduces exposure to hazardous pesticides.

2. More birds, plants and bees!                                                                  

Biodiversity is essential to make nature work. Did you know that the threat to biodiversity is as acute as the climate threat? Organic farmers plant a wide variety of crops rather than just one big field of the same. This and other organic methods increase the range of species of natural plants, birds, animals and insects in the soil and around the farm.

3. Knowledge instead of chemicals!

We need to change the way we produce and consume food. Studies show that solutions for the future can be found in organic agriculture. Instead of using agrochemicals organic farmers use knowledge. They use a greater diversity of crops and varieties – often indigenous. This generally gives better protection against drought and diseases, thus reducing risks for the farmer. In many parts of the world, the production methods used also increase the yields.

4. More jobs and higher incomes!

Organic farming is often more diversified and creates more jobs. Often, the production costs for the farmers are lower and profits higher when they no longer have to buy chemical fertilizers, pesticides and seeds.

5. Help organic farming grow!

Over 70% of the world’s poor live in rural areas and most of them are involved in farming. The majority of these small scale farmers already grow organic or close to. Buying organic products leads to increased production and incomes, improved local food security and a cleaner and greener environment.

http://greenactionweek.org/go-organic-for-a-greener-planet/

06 October 2017

Group Alerts the Public as Another Water Color Set Is Banned due to High Lead Content

Artex Fine Water Colors, MPC Classique Water Colors and Xiao Yiren Water Colors banned 
by the Food and Drug Administration due to high lead content.

MPC Classique Water Colors contains lead above 90 parts per million (ppm) as per laboratory analysis by the FDA.

The EcoWaste Coalition, a non-profit environmental health group, urged the public to watch out for another art coloring product laden with lead, a health-damaging chemical.  

The group’s advice came on the heels of a new public health warning issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on September 29, 2017 against MPC Classique Water Colors distributed by Multiline Products Corp.

According to FDA Advisory No. 2017-272, the said water color set was found to contain lead beyond the allowable limit of not more than 90 parts per million (ppm).

“We advise consumers to pay attention to FDA’s health warning.  Kids in particular should stay away from this unsafe art material to avoid being exposed to a chemical that is known to harm a child’s developing brain,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), at lower levels of exposure that cause no obvious symptoms, and that previously were considered safe, lead is now known to produce a spectrum of injury across multiple body systems.” 

“In particular lead can affect children’s brain development resulting in reduced intelligence quotient (IQ), behavioral changes such as reduced attention span and increased antisocial behavior, and reduced educational attainment,” the WHO said.

“Parents should not allow their children to come into contact with lead, especially from a preventable source like school supplies, which, in the first place, should be totally safe from lead and other hazardous substances,” Dizon said.

The group reminded parents “there is no known level of lead exposure that is considered safe” as per the WHO. 

The group on Thursday went to Divisoria, Manila to check if the banned water color set has been taken off the store shelves following the FDA Advisory.   

“We managed to buy MPC Classique Water Colors from a store selling school supplies, indicating the need to publicize further and exact compliance to the FDA Advisory ,” reported Dizon.

“It’s important the product is withdrawn from wholesalers and retailers without delay by the company that placed the product on the market,” he said.   

This is the third time that that the FDA has banned water coloring materials since 2014.

The FDA banned Artex Fine Water Colors in 2014, upon notification by the EcoWaste Coalition, due to its high lead content reaching up to 5,089 ppm as per the agency's laboratory analysis.

The graphic designs of Artex Fine Water Colors and MPC Classique Water Colors bear some striking similarities, the group noted.

On August 31 this year, the FDA banned Xiao Yiren Water Color as well as Ultra Colours Jumbo Crayons for containing lead above the regulatory limit of 90 ppm.

-end-


Reference:

http://www.fda.gov.ph/advisori es-2/cosmetic-2/466281-fda-adv isory-2017-272

http://www.fda.gov.ph/advisori es-2/cosmetic-2/458304-fda-adv isory-no-2017-260

http://www.fda.gov.ph/advisori es-2/cosmetic-2/162436-fda-adv isory-2014-044   

EcoWaste Coalition Finds Cebu Toy Ukuleles Adorned with Banned Lead Paint

 Toy ukuleles decorated with lead-containing paints.

Toy ukuleles that screened negative for lead content.

Some toy ukuleles, a popular bring-home gift for kids from Cebu, were found to contain lead, a chemical ingredient in some paints that can harm children’s health and development.

The EcoWaste Coalition, a non-profit toxics watch group based in Quezon City, made the revelation after buying last week five toy ukuleles worth P150 to P200 each from a souvenir shop in Lapu-Lapu City.

The ukuleles were subsequently screened for lead using a handheld X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) analyzer.

“Lead exposure is especially harmful to children.  This is why lead paint is not allowed in the production of children’s toys and related products that may expose them to this dangerous chemical,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

According to the World Health Organization, “young children are particularly vulnerable to the toxic effects of lead and can suffer profound and permanent adverse health effects, particularly affecting the development of the brain and nervous system.”

Among the health problems attributed to lead exposure include decreased intelligence, learning difficulties, reduced school performance, hearing loss, developmental delays, aggression and other behavioral issues.

As per XRF screening, two of the five samples were decorated with lead-containing paints above the limit of 90 parts per million (ppm).

The yellow paint used on a mango-shaped ukulele had 12,300 ppm of lead, while the pink paint on the other ukulele had 2,432 ppm of lead. 

“The other three painted ukuleles were found negative for lead content, a good proof that toys can be embellished with paints that will not pose lead hazards to innocent children,” Dizon pointed out.  

The EcoWaste Coalition also analyzed toy ukuleles from Cebu in  2014 and 2013.  In 2014, 10 ukuleles were found to contain lead up to 26,100 ppm.  In 2013, the group detected lead up to 13,900 ppm in six samples.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Administrative Order 2013-24), or the Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds, strictly prohibits the use of lead in the manufacture of toys.

The Environmental Management Bureau through Memorandum Circular 2016-010 clarified “the manufacture, processing, sale, distribution, and use of paints with more than 90 ppm of lead and lead compounds in the production of toys and related products shall be prohibited after December 31, 2016.”

-end-

Reference:

http://www.who.int/ mediacentre/factsheets/fs379/ en/

http://server2.denr.gov.ph/ uploads/rmdd/dao-2013-24.pdf
http://119.92.161.2/embgovph/ Portals/40/MC%202016-010.pdf

04 October 2017

Cebuanos Warned vs Mercury-Contaminated Skin Whitening Creams (Mayor Tommy Osmeña Urged to Go After Peddlers of Poison Cosmetics)



A Quezon City-based watch group on toxic chemicals, products and wastes cautioned Cebuanos seeking fairer skin complexion to watch out for cosmetics that may do more harm than lighten the skin.

The EcoWaste Coalition, a public interest group, issued the warning after purchasing last week 11 unregistered skin whitening cosmetics for P60 to P130 each from various retail outlets in Cebu City.

Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect, explained that the test buys conducted were part of the group’s advocacy to halt the illegal trade of dangerous cosmetics containing mercury, a highly toxic chemical that is harmful to public health and the environment.

“Our latest test buys provide fresh evidence that the illegal sale of mercury-laden skin whitening products has not ceased in Cebu, and that law enforcement action is needed to put an end to this deplorable trade of poison cosmetics,” he said. 

Seven of the 11 skin whitening cosmetics in Cebu --- all bearing the Jiaoli and S’Zitang brands --- were found to contain high concentrations of mercury above the trace amount limit of 1 part per million (ppm) as per the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive.

Jiaoli Miraculous Cream and S’Zitang, both banned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since 2010, were found to be laced with mercury amounting to  2,809 and 2,739 ppm, respectively.

According to the FDA, “cosmetic products containing such impurities/contaminants that are way beyond the allowable limit clearly pose imminent danger or injury to the consuming public.”

“The adverse health effects brought about by highly toxic mercury in cosmetic products include kidney damage, skin rashes, skin discoloration and scarring,” the agency said.

“Chronic use reduces the skin’s normal resistance against bacterial and fungal infections. Other effects include anxiety, depression or psychosis and peripheral neuropathy. The transfer of mercury to fetuses of pregnant women may manifest as neurodevelopment deficits later in life,” the FDA warned.

Dizon also reported that the rest of the samples purchased screened negative for mercury.

However, these items may still pose health risks to users as the products lack the required authorization from the FDA in the form of in the form of cosmetic product notification and would be illegal to offer for sale in the market.

Among these non-notified products were Erna Whitening Cream, Cai Mei Sheep Placenta Whitening Foundation Cream, Cai Mei Sheep Placenta Anti-Wrinkle Cream and Cai Mei Sheep Placenta Moisturizing Cream.

Non-notified cosmetics were not subjected to the necessary verification procedures by the FDA and their quality and safety cannot be ascertained.

In light of its findings, the EcoWaste Coalition urged the local government, health and police authorities of Cebu City to go after the distributors and dealers of contraband cosmetics.

“To protect the public health, especially the health of Cebu’s women consumers, we urge Mayor Tommy Osmeña to order the confiscation of mercury-laden skin whiteners and to prosecute the peddlers of such poison cosmetics,” the EcoWaste Coalition said. 

-end-

http://www.fda.gov.ph/advisories-2/cosmetic-2/38699-fda-advisory-no-2010-002
http://www.fda.gov.ph/attachments/article/38951/FC2010-011.pdf
http://www.fda.gov.ph/advisories-2/cosmetic-2/358902-fda-advisory-no-2016-093

Mercury Content of Seven Jiaoli and S’Zitang Skin Whitening Products Bought from Cebu Retailers as Screened by the EcoWaste Coalition Using an XRF Device:

1. Jiaoli Miraculous Cream (2,809ppm)
2. S'zitang (Gold Container) (2,739ppm)
3. Jiaoli 7-Day Specific Eliminating Freckle AB Set (2,643ppm)
4. Jiaoli 7-Day Specific Eliminating Freckle Cream (2,265ppm)
5. S'Zitang 7-Day Specific Eliminating Freckle AB Set  (2,782ppm)
6. S’Zitang 7 Day Specific Eliminating Freckle AB Set  (1,718ppm)
7. Jiaoli 7-Day Specific Eliminating Freckle AB Set (1,439ppm)