With Christmas fast approaching and shoppers gearing up for their gift-giving, safe toy advocate BAN Toxics issued a warning to the public concerning the sale of bouncy (also known as inflatable hoppers) and squeaky plastic toys that might contain toxic chemicals. Chlorinated paraffins are widely used in various plastics, especially in children’s toys, and pose severe health risks. They have been linked to liver and kidney damage, disruptions in the endocrine system, potential cancer risks, developmental brain impairments, and threats to reproductive health.
Recent market surveillance conducted by BT Patrollers revealed the sale of these risky toys in stores along Baclaran, Pasay City. The bouncy toys were priced between Php 300-350, while the squeaky plastic toys ranged from Php 60-150.
Short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs), utilized as flame retardants, adhesives, sealants, and secondary plasticizers, were banned globally under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants back in 2017.
A study published by the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) in October this year revealed alarming levels of these toxins in toys. Analysis conducted at a certified laboratory of the Institute of Food Analysis and Nutrition at the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague, Czechia, confirmed that all plastic toys tested contained both SCCPs and MCCPs (Medium-Chain Chlorinated Paraffins). Concentrations of SCCPs ranged from 1-60,400 mg/kg., while MCCP concentrations varied from 1-73,800 mg/kg. The highest concentrations of both SCCPs and MCCPs (48,800 and 91,700 mg/kg) were found in inflatable plastic bouncing toys.
“The manufacture, sale, and use of these toxic chemicals in plastic toys should be prohibited in the Philippine market since it is already banned under the Stockholm Convention to prevent potential health risks to children,” said Thony Dizon, Toxics Campaigner of BAN Toxics.
Calling for immediate action, Dizon added, “We urge the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to take necessary measures to eliminate the use of SCCPs and MCCPs in plastic toys, safeguarding children from harmful exposure.”
As a signatory to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) since 2004, the Philippines is mandated to eliminate, restrict, and reduce the production, use, and trade of listed POP chemicals, which include SCCPs. This mandate also necessitates environmentally sound management of POP stockpiles and wastes.
The lack of adequate and proper labeling exacerbates the issue, given the widespread global production of chlorinated paraffins. This highlights the critical need for transparency and traceability in plastic product materials to facilitate informed decision-making throughout the product value chain.
“We urge our lawmakers to enact legislation prohibiting the use of toxic chemicals, especially in children’s products including toys. Transparency and traceability measures in the production of plastic toys are crucial. Banning the manufacture, sale, and use of these toxic substances is paramount to safeguarding children’s health and the environment,” BAN Toxics added.