The EcoWaste Coalition reminded consumers to be extra careful when purchasing furniture for use by young children as some items may pose lead paint hazards.
The watchdog group issued the reminder after laboratory analysis it commissioned found lead above the maximum limit of 90 parts per million (ppm) on the green paint used to decorate an unbranded kiddie table and chair set with a Spiderman design.
The group made the reminder to mark the fifth anniversary of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) Circular 010-2016 issued on August 16, 2016 affirming the ban on paints with more than 90 ppm of lead in the manufacture of toys and related products.
The said ban on leaded paints for toys and related children’s products, including chairs and tables for children’s use, took effect on January 1, 2017.
Based on the analysis conducted by the Ateneo-based Philippine Institute of Pure and Applied Chemistry (PIPAC), the green paint on the steel frame of the table had 330 ppm of lead, while that of the chair had 530 ppm. The group purchased the unlabeled table and chair set for P700 from a budget store in Valenzuela City.
“As the lead painted table and chair are used, damaged or chipped with time, 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,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
“When buying any furniture for your child, do exercise your consumer right to product information and safety and select certified lead-safe items,” he suggested.
“Lead exposure even at low doses is hazardous to child’s health,” emphasized Dr. Geminn Louis C. Apostol from the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health.
Apostol, an environmental health scientist, warned “lead can cause irreparable and life-long health effects, particularly for young children.”
Among these health effects are brain and central nervous system damage, loss of intelligence, mental retardation, decreased bone and muscle growth, hearing, speech and language issues, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, low school performance, and behavioral problems.
According to the report “Childhood Lead Poisoning” published by the World Health Organization (WHO), “the human brain has little capacity for repair, these effects are untreatable and irreversible. They cause diminution in brain function and reduction in achievement that lasts throughout life.”
“Children are particularly vulnerable to the neurotoxic effects of lead, and even relatively low levels of exposure can cause serious and in some cases irreversible neurological damage,” the WHO warned.
“There is no known level of lead exposure that is considered safe,” the WHO reminded.
In light of its latest toxic discovery, the EcoWaste Coalition appealed to manufacturers, importers, wholesalers and retailers to ensure that children’s toys, furniture and related products sold in the market are certified safe from lead and other harmful chemicals.