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Sell only toxic-free goods, FDA asks traders

/ 11:47 PM July 21, 2011

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) endorsed Thursday a pro-environment group’s efforts to detect toxic chemicals in consumer products, particularly toys, being sold to the public even as it urged manufacturers and retailers to ensure that they sell only toxic-free goods.

In a statement, acting FDA Director Suzette Lazo cited Ecowaste Coalition and its partner, the International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN), for their conduct of a research survey on the presence of toxic elements in children’s toys.

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Ms. Lazo said that while the FDA continues to strengthen its capability in its goal to achieve toxic-free products, the initiatives of nongovernment organizations like Ecowaste and IPEN could be used by the agency “in establishing data to justify regulatory actions.”

“The availability of breakthrough technology that can quickly and accurately test for the presence of harmful chemicals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium and arsenic in consumer products can significantly boost monitoring efforts and prevent unsafe products from being marketed to unsuspecting consumers,” Lazo added.

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From July 17 to 19, Ecowaste and IPEN conducted toxicity tests on toys, including dolls, action figures as well as play makeup kits, bought from bargain stores, secondhand thrift shops and big shopping malls in Metro Manila.

The groups used an X-ray fluorescence analyzer, a scanner for toxic content, used by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

In their “State of Toys Analysis,” they said that 30 percent of the 200 local and imported toys they bought from the stores tested positive for at least one toxic metal above levels of concern.

Lazo, meanwhile, asked manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers to be more aware of safety issues and to exercise extraordinary diligence in the manufacture and distribution of products by ensuring that their goods are safe.

Lazo also encouraged the public, stakeholders and those in regulated industries to participate in achieving toxic-free products.

Lazo likewise reminded consumers to be more vigilant and to report to the agency, the Center for Health Development or to local health offices any product that they suspect may be hazardous to their health so that the government may take appropriate action.

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TAGS: businss, Consumer issues, Environmental Issues, goods, Philippines, toxic, Trade
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