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Toys and Childcare Articles Contain Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals – BRAVO

 

The House Committee on Welfare of Children, chaired by Rep. Divina Grace Yu (1st District, Zamboanga del Sur), has approved the bill seeking to regulate the importation, manufacture, distribution and sale of children’s products containing hazardous chemicals, and providing penalties for violations thereof.

The bill entitled “Safe and Non-Hazardous Children’s Products Act” integrated various bills authored by Reps. Marlyn Primicias-Agabas (6th District, Pangasinan), Anthony M. Bravo (Party-list, COOP NATCCO), Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2nd District, Pampanga), Harry L. Roque, Jr., (Party-list, Kabayan), and Orestes T. Salon (Party-list, AGRI).

Primicias-Agabas said the Department of Health (DOH) has continuously warned the public on the harmful effects of toys and colorful children stuff that are laden with toxic materials.

“The effect on children cannot be underrated. These chemicals have long-term effects on child development and are at times fatal. Thus, the proliferation of these items in the market should be regulated and penal sanctions should be imposed on the violators of the law,” said Primicias-Agabas, chairperson of the committee on revision of laws.

Bravo said some toys and childcare articles contain toxic and hazardous chemicals which are detrimental to the health of children, like phthalates or phthalate esters, which are mainly used as plasticizers or substances added to plastics to increase their flexibility.

“They are chiefly used to turn polyvinyl chloride from a hard plastic into a flexible plastic. Exposure to phthalates has been linked to malformed sex organs in male lab animals. Alarmingly enough, a recent study revealed that there is a link between mothers exposed to phthalates and genital birth defects in male infants,” said Bravo.

The bill states it is the policy of the State to protect and promote children’s right to health, as enshrined in the Constitution, the Child Welfare Code, Convention on the Rights of the Child, and other conventions on hazardous substances to which the country is a signatory.

The bill aims to regulate the importation, manufacture, distribution, and sale in the country of children’s products containing hazardous chemicals. In line with this, importers, manufacturers, distributors and sellers of children’s products are required to comply with the relevant standards, rules and processes set by all the government agencies concerned.

The bill defines “children’s products” as any product or material, whether or not likely to be put inside the mouth by children, which are used for and by children. These include children’s toys, school supplies, educational kits, and childcare articles defined under Republic Act No. 9711 or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Act of 2009; non-conventional toys such as electronic gadgets, mobile phones, tablets, and pocket game consoles; mechanized or electronic toys such as hover board; furnishings and fixtures such as cribs, chairs, shelves, walkers, strollers, and decorative items for children’s use; indoor and outdoor playground equipment; children’s books and reference materials and children’s accessories.”

According to the bill, hazardous chemicals that are commonly used in the manufacture of children’s products and are considered harmful to children include the following: Antimony; Arsenic; Cadmium; Chromium; Cobalt; Lead; Mercury; Nickel; as well as Phthalates, which include Di (2-Ethlyhexyl) Phthalate (DEHP), Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), Benzyl Butyl Phthalate (BBP), Diisononyl Phthalate (DINP), Diisodecyl Phthalate (DIDP), Di-N-Octyl Phthalate (DNOP) and Bisphenol-A (BPA).

The bill also provides for the creation of the Children’s Product Safety Council (CPSC), a multi-sectoral body attached to the DOH and chaired by the Health Secretary, which shall serve as the primary link and coordinator for its member institutions, such as the Business Processing and Licensing Office (BPLO) of local government units, the private sector, and other stakeholders.

Administrative sanctions imposable upon violators include suspension and revocation of license, and seizure of unregistered, non-compliant or falsely represented products. Criminal offenders shall, upon conviction, suffer imprisonment ranging from one year to 10 years or a fine ranging from P50,000 to P500,000, or both, at the discretion of the court.

Upon approval by the Committee on Welfare of Children, the bill was referred to the Committee on Appropriations chaired by Rep. Karlo Alexei B. Nograles (1st District, Davao City) for approval of the measure’s funding provisions.

Other authors of the bill are Reps. Yu, Sabiniano S. Canama, Edgar Mary Sarmiento, Ma. Lourdes Aggabao and Alexandria P. Gonzales.

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