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EcoWaste: Kiddie chair makers shifting to lead-free paints

Updated

By Philippines News Agency

A group advocating the protection of the environment reported that kiddie chairs being sold in the market are now safe from lead after the manufacturer has shifted to lead-free paints.

Samples of kiddie folding chair and stool with dangerous levels of lead content. (EcoWaste coalition / MANILA BULLETIN)

Samples of kiddie folding chair and stool with dangerous levels of lead content.
(EcoWaste coalition / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a statement, Thony Dizon, coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect, said its XRF screening revealed that identical samples of the new metal-framed kiddie chairs with SpongeBob SquarePants and Winnie the Pooh designs had no detectable lead.

“We are delighted to find out that these erstwhile lead-tainted kiddie chairs are now decorated with lead-safe paint. It’s a clear proof that manufacturers of toys and childcare articles are in a position to switch to paint with no added lead that is safe for kids,” Dizon said in a statement.

“But these children’s chairs still lack labeling information and the required certificate of product notification for toys and childcare articles from the health authorities,” he added.

As part of the group’s observance of the International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action, the group bought children’s chairs costing P125–P180 each from general merchandise stores located in Monumento, Caloocan City; Quiapo, Manila; and Libertad, Pasay City.

Using a portable XRF device, the chairs were screened for lead—a toxic substance used as pigment, drier or anti-corrosive agent in paint formulations.

The top two samples with dangerous concentrations of lead were the chair with SpongeBob SquarePants design with 20,680 ppm, followed by the one with a Winnie the Pooh design with 18,831 ppm.

However, a third sample—a folding kiddie chair with a flower-like character design—was found to contain 8,782 ppm of lead.

“As this lead-painted chair is used, damaged or chip with time, the lead can be released in dust that children can swallow or breathe in. Kids tend to put their hands as well as objects in their mouths, which raises their chances of ingesting lead-containing dust and even paint chips that may have higher lead content,” Dizon added.

Lead can harm the brain and the central nervous system, as well as the circulatory systems, kidneys and bones. Lead exposure is associated with reduced intelligence, poorer school performance, inattentiveness, hyperactivity, impulsive and violent behavior, juvenile delinquency and incarceration.

“As lead is most harmful to young children even at low levels of exposures, we urge manufacturers, importers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers of toys and other childcare articles to use lead-safe paint at all times,” he said.

Lead-containing paints for architectural, decorative and household uses are to be phased out from the market by December 31, 2016 as per DENR administrative order 2013-24.

With this, he urged business establishments to sell only lead-free toys and such items.

“While the ban will only take effect after December 31, we ask all business establishments, especially those that cater to budget-conscious consumers, not to offer their customers with lead-contaminated toys and related products,” he said.

“Toys and related products,” as clarified in the Environmental Management Bureau’s Memorandum Circular 2016-10 issued on August 28, 2016, include home furnishings and fixtures such as cribs, chairs, tables, shelves, walkers, strollers, beds, decorative materials and embellishments for children’s use.

Also included in this product category are indoor and outdoor playground equipment, board games intended for children, art materials, science kits and crafts, children’s books and reference materials, children’s accessories, electronic gadgets and other children’s products.

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