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Public warned vs toxic Halloween toys

Quezon City-based toxic and safety watchdog EcoWaste Coalition warned the public against Halloween playthings that may cause harm especially if used without adult supervision.

The group expressed alarm after buying cheap Halloween toys from vendors in Divisoria, Manila, most of which have not passed through the required quality and safety verification by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“There is no assurance that all toys being sold in the market are safe for our children to play with,” lamented Thony Dizon, chemical safety campaigner for EcoWaste Coalition.

“Some of these toys might be putting vulnerable kids in harm’s way,” he added.

Dizon warned that some toys may pose chemical, choking, fire, and laceration hazards, and even blunt force trauma.

“Parents should only pick safe notified or registered toys for their children and supervise them as they play to prevent any untoward incident,” Dizon noted.

For this year’s Halloween celebration, the group bought 35 assorted Halloween toys, including scary headbands and masks, imitation weapons, creepy hammers, and “blood-stained” accessories like “blood saw in head,” “terrorist necklace” and “horror blood and fangs.”

Notified or registered toys, as per FDA’s requirements, should bear the following 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.

None of the 35 samples provided complete labeling information as required by the FDA, which for the EcoWaste Coalition is a matter of serious concern as this deprives consumers the right to know.

The group advised consumers to observe the following tips to avoid unsafe Halloween toys:

  1. Carefully read the product label and refrain from buying unlabeled and unregistered toys.
  2. Choose toys that are suited to a child’s age, ability and behavior.
  3. Watch out for toys that may cause injury or pose burn, chemical, choking, laceration, strangulation and other safety hazards.
  4. Shun toys that have small parts such as button batteries and magnets that can be pulled off and get swallowed by a child.
  5. Steer clear of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic toys that may contain banned phthalates and other hazardous substances such as cadmium and lead.
  6. Refrain from picking toys that have a strong chemical or perfumed smell.
  7. Avoid painted toys unless labeled as certified lead-safe.
  8. Avoid face paints unless guaranteed free of toxic metals and other cosmetic contaminants.

(Chito Chavez)