Quantcast
Latest Stories

Ecowaste finds toxic chemicals in lucky charms for lunar new year

By

MANILA, Philippines—Some lunar new year charms and accessories might not exactly bring good fortune.

Consumer safety watchdog Ecowaste Coalition discovered dangerous chemicals in 28 lucky charms and accessories, including a fertility amulet with a high level of lead that ironically could induce miscarriage and premature childbirth.

Using an x-ray fluorescence (XRF) device, Ecowaste’s Task Force Chemical Safety found toxic metals such as chromium, lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, and antimony on 28 of 30 animal figurines as well as figures of Buddha and Confucius, amulets, bracelets, hanging décor, urns, and other charms for wealth and good health.

The samples were tested in anticipation of the beginning of the Year of the Water Snake on February 10.

Out of the samples bought on January 31 from different stores and shops in Manila’s Binondo District, 18 were found to have chromium; 13 had lead; nine had arsenic; six had antimony; four had cadmium; and three had mercury. Most of the items contained mixtures of the toxic metals.

Among the tested samples were a yellow-gold Chi Lin amulet containing 47,400 ppm of lead and 1,350 ppm of chromium; a beaded door décor with the highest amounts of cadmium and antimony at 15,200 ppm and 3,357 ppm; a Confucius figurine containing 8,801 ppm of lead, 5,359 ppm of chromium, 1,069 ppm of arsenic, and 12 ppm of mercury; a “bagua”—a kind of charm for hanging above doors — containing 4,399 ppm of lead, 2,212 ppm of chromium, 531 ppm of arsenic, and 31 ppm of mercury; six snake lucky charms which contained chromium traces from 103 ppm to 972 ppm; and four bracelets which had multiple toxic metals at different levels.

Aileen Lucero  of the Ecowaste Coalition said in a statement, “Lucky charms which are believed to produce a positive influence over a person’s good health and fortune should not contain hazardous substances that bring adverse health effects.”

She particularly cited a fertility amulet for childless couples which had the highest level of lead at 47,400 parts per million (ppm), way beyond the 100 ppm limit for toys and children’s articles under the US Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008.

Lucero explained, “Lead is extremely toxic and can be passed from a mother to her unborn child. Too much lead in a mother’s body increases the risk of miscarriage or stillbirth, premature birth and low weight birth and may cause the child to have behavioral or learning difficulties. This makes the presence of lead in a ‘baby boom’ amulet bizarre and unacceptable.”

According to the United Nations Environmental Program, lead is toxic even at very low exposure levels and can have “neurological, cardiovascular, renal, gastrointestinal, haematological, and reproductive effects.”

UNEP described cadmium as a toxic metal that could adversely affect the kidneys and the human skeleton. It said that cadmium is a “carcinogen by inhalation and is accumulated in the bone and may serve as a source of exposure later in life.”

Cadmium, arsenic, lead and mercury are among the list of ten chemicals of major public health concern of the World Health Organization. They are also included in the country’s priority chemicals list along with chromium.

Lucero said: “Toxic chemicals have no room in auspicious materials that Filipinos find in Chinatown in anticipation of good luck and as defense against misfortune. Manufacturers should get rid of toxic ingredients in their raw materials and look for safer alternatives, and disclose full chemical information on product labels.”


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: EcoWaste Coalition , Lunar New Year , Public Health , Toxic Materials




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  2. Gigi Reyes back to face charges
  3. SC suspends proctor in 2011 bar exams
  4. What Went Before: Enrile denies Gigi Reyes was ‘other woman’
  5. In the know: Gigi Reyes
  6. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  7. At 77, Erap has Easter treat for Manila cops but keeps City Hall folk in agony
  8. Solons seek ample protection for bank depositors
  9. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  10. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  5. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  6. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  7. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  8. Massive infra spending set
  9. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  10. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  8. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  9. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
Advertisement

News

  • ‘I’ll make it,’ says young ferry passenger to family
  • Bad weather halts rescue after deadliest Everest disaster
  • Gigi Reyes has no other option but to turn state witness — Santiago
  • US weighing military exercises in Eastern Europe
  • Rains loom in Surigao as LPA nears
  • Sports

  • Nick Calathes suspension a reminder of supplement risk
  • Teague scores 28 as Hawks soar past Pacers in Game 1
  • Warriors beat Clippers in playoff opener
  • Pacquiao top Mayweather contender
  • Rain or Shine, Ginebra clash for No. 6 spot
  • Lifestyle

  • Noli Yamsuan, Cardinal Sin’s ‘official’ photographer: ‘I could smell the aftershave lotion of the Pope’
  • Simplifying and lightening life
  • Where to go for Easter night-out
  • Joe de Venecia visits the Queen Mother of Cambodia
  • Fashionistas flock to designer’s wedding
  • Entertainment

  • Show-biz celebrities’ other choices of summer getaway
  • Why ‘Noah’ can’t dock his ark at Philippine theaters
  • Acclaimed artist goes wild while on holiday
  • Believing in this mermaid
  • Missing Xian
  • Business

  • Top-selling insurance agent opens her dream café
  • Connecting and transacting with one another
  • Building wealth for health
  • Why Mandaue Foam buys, rather than rents, space
  • A workplace of new possibilities
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Epiphany
  • Unpaid creditor vs distressed debtor
  • Moving on
  • From culinary desert to paradise
  • Response to China: ‘Usjaphil’
  • Global Nation

  • Asia seeks Obama’s assurance in territorial spats
  • Cesar Chavez movie sparks memories of Fil-Am labor leaders
  • Filipinos in US poised for success
  • Visas for priests and other faith leaders
  • DOH to continue tracking co-passengers of OFW infected with MERS virus
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement