By Chito Chavez
Environmental group EcoWaste Coalition has sounded the panic alarm after discovering the sale of light up toy swords contaminated with lead, a health-damaging chemical in the market.
Taking its cue from a product recall order in the United Kingdom (UK) last August 12 for a China-made light up toy sword due to its lead content, the Quezon City based group over the weekend bought eight samples of such toys for P40 to P100 each from toy wholesalers and retailers in Divisoria, Manila.
The light up toy sword recalled contains a silver paint with lead measuring 112 parts per million (ppm).
“A child may put the toy in the mouth,” the recall order said, noting that “exposure to lead is harmful for human health and causes developmental neurotoxicity.”
“We bought some light up toy swords, also known as flashing stick or Star Wars light sabers, to check if such toys sold locally do not present a lead exposure risk to their young users,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
Using a handheld X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) analytical device, the group detected lead on two of the eight samples of light up toy swords.
One has 136 ppm of lead and the other has 944 ppm, exceeding the 90 ppm maximum regulatory limit for lead in paint.
Dizon also noted three of the samples were found to contain high levels of antimony and bromine.
“We also found all the eight samples unlabeled or mislabeled with important information as age grading, cautionary warning, and manufacturer’s marking missing,” he added.
“We, therefore, urge consumers to take the necessary precaution when buying toys for their loved ones. Please exercise your right to product information, as well as your right to be protected against hazardous chemicals in products,” he said.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “lead is a cumulative toxicant that affects multiple body systems and is particularly harmful to young children.”
“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,” the WHO warned.
“There is no known level of lead exposure that is considered safe,” the WHO emphasized.