Popular Christmas Gift Items

Popular Christmas gift items such as painted toys, glasses and mugs tested positive with nasty chemicals known for damaging a child’s brain and future.

“This is the outrageous truth that we have discovered after subjecting 50 product samples to chemical analysis,” said Thony Dizon, EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect coordinator.

“Sixty four percent or 32 of the 50 samples we tested contain mindboggling amounts of toxic metals such as lead that are totally unacceptable for products meant to spread Christmas cheer,” he said.

Toxicologist Dr. Bessie Antonio, a resource person of the EcoWaste Coalition, 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 who is also the President of the Philippine Society of Clinical and Occupational Toxicology (PSCOT).

Painted drinking glasses and mugs top the list of “dirtiest” products with 14 out of the 16 glass samples laced with lead up to 44,400 parts per million (ppm), way above the 90 ppm threshold under 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, many of the painted glasses and mugs were found to contain antimony, arsenic, cadmium and chromium above levels of concern and thus increasing the chances of multiple exposure to hazardous chemicals.

Sold from P20 to P100, painted glasses and mugs are among the favorite holiday gift or give-away items because of their attractive designs, easy to wrap packaging and affordability.

In its latest investigation on the toxicity of children’s products in the market, the EcoWaste Coalition bought a variety of affordable toys and gift items from street vendors at Carriedo St. in Quiapo, Rizal Ave., Santa Cruz and Juan Luna St., Divisoria in the city of Manila.

The probe, conducted amid brisk sales of holiday goodies as Christmas nears, was also arranged to draw attention to the UN-recognized rights of children to health and safety as the “Universal Children’s Day” is observed on November 20.

The samples, mostly imported from China, were tested for heavy metals by Engr. Ramir Castro of QES (Manila), Inc. using an X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) chemical analyzer.

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