Ecowaste warns of toxic chemicals in lucky charms
MANILA, Philippines — Some lucky charms for the Chinese New Year may not exactly bring good fortune as they contain toxic chemicals like cadmium and lead, Ecowaste Coalition warned on Monday.
“Some lucky charms and amulets that are supposed to attract energy, health, fortune and happiness are unluckily contaminated with cadmium and lead, two highly hazardous substances that belong to the WHO’s list of 10 chemicals of major public health concern,” said Chemical Safety Campaigner Thony Dizon in a statement.
Ecowaste purchased 20 assorted lucky charms and amulets from retailers in Binondo and Quiapo and screened them for toxic metals using a handheld X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) device.
It was discovered that 15 out of the 20 items were contaminated with excessive lead and cadmium levels with way above the 90 parts per million (ppm) limit for lead in paint under Philippine laws, and 100 ppm limit for cadmium in jewelry under the European Union (EU) regulation.
The group revealed that cadmium amounting to 1,906 to 293,000 ppm was detected in the pendants on four red fabric bracelets and steel chain necklaces, while lead ranging from 1,324 to 57,300 ppm was discovered in 11 lead-painted lucky charms and amulets.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), lead exposure among children even at low levels can interrupt and damage brain development and cause lifelong learning and behavioral problems.
Meanwhile, exposure among adults can bring miscarriage in women, reduced sperm count in men, as well as hypertension and other health issues.
Cadmium, on the other hand, is classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as “carcinogenic to humans.”
Exposure to cadmium may result to “reduced birth weight, premature birth, stillbirth, spontaneous abortion and birth defects in humans, as well with behavioral and learning disabilities.”
The Ecowaste advised consumers to buy charms and amulets with “plastic laminate that will protect the paint from chipping and crumbling.”
Below is the list of items with high cadmium and lead content:
1. Stainless steel necklace with pig pendant, 293,000 ppm cadmium
2. Red fabric bracelet with pig adornment, 238,800 ppm cadmium
3. Stainless steel necklace with money pouch pendant, 182,800 ppm cadmium
4. Red fabric bracelet with twin cherry adornment, 1,906 ppm cadmium
5. Holy gourd lucky object, 57,300 ppm lead,
6. Lucky peach trinket, 56,300 ppm lead
7. Dragon lucky object, 52,500 ppm lead,
8. Lotus flower lucky object, 22,000 ppm lead
9. Windhorse lucky object, 20,300 ppm lead
10. 3-legged frog lucky object, 19,500 ppm lead
11. Golden lucky coin, 8,917 ppm lead
12. Good luck pat-kua (medium), 7,643 ppm lead
13. Good luck pat-kua (small), 5,093 ppm lead
14. Good luck pat-kua (big), 3,644 ppm lead
15. Lucky golden dragon, 1,324 ppm lead /je
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