MANILA, Nov. 22, 2011? As Christmas draws near, many shoppers are frequenting places with affordable finds to buy gifts for friends and loved ones.
But beware, some of those maybe laced with toxic chemicals, an eco watchdog warned the public.
The EcoWaste Coalition, a network of civil society groups, said many popular Christmas gift items such as painted toys, glasses and mugs have been tested positive with dangerous chemicals that can harm a child’s brain.
Some product samples that have been subjected to chemical analysis have come out positive, according to Thony Dizon, coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.
He said “64% or 32 of the 50 samples we tested contain mind-boggling amounts of toxic metals such as lead that are totally unacceptable for products meant to spread Christmas cheer.”
Among those tested were painted drinking glasses and mugs with 14 out of 16 glass samples spiked with lead up to 44,400 parts per million (ppm), much higher than the 90 ppm maximum set by the US Consumer Product Improvement Act of 2008.
“This shocking eye-opener is truly worrisome as lead in painted glassware comes in direct contact with a child’s mouth and posing a serious health risk,” Dizon said.
Aside from lead, other dangerous chemicals such as antimony, arsenic, cadmium and chromium are also found on the articles.
The items are popular among consumers for give-away gifts and holiday presents because of their attractive designs and affordability.
Dr. Bessie Antonio, a Toxilogist and President of the Philippine Society of Clinical and Occupational Toxicology (PSCOT), said “lead in consumer products can endanger human health, especially among kids.”
“Lead exposure can damage the brain, lower a child’s intelligence, decrease a child’s attention span and cause delays in a child’s speaking, reading and learning skills,” added Antonio.
The eco group conducted the investigation to call the people’s attention to the rights of children to health and safety as the world observed the “Universal Children’s Day” on November 20. (CBCPNews)