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Lovers, beware: Valentine’s Day trinkets not all safe

/ 04:40 AM February 03, 2015

guyito-0203MANILA, Philippines–Lovers, with Valentine’s Day just a few days away, beware of gifts you are planning to buy for your beloved.

Those looking for gifts to give to their loved ones are advised to think carefully before buying those bracelet charms with heart-shaped metal pendants that are sold cheaply around Metro Manila—more so, if you are low on cash.

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A consumer group that regularly tracks toxins in consumer products said Monday it had found dangerously high levels of the toxic metals lead and cadmium in most of the trinkets they sampled among those sold in Divisoria and Quiapo.

Jewelry vendors

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Using a portable X-ray fluorescence device to screen samples of items for sale, EcoWaste Coalition found that eight of the 12 bracelets it had examined were made of 15- to 32-percent cadmium and 3.5- to 36-percent lead.

With Philippine regulation still lacking, the group said the European Union’s limit for cadmium and lead content in jewelry was at 0.01 percent and 0.05 percent by weight, respectively.

The 12 sampled bracelets were bought from fashion jewelry vendors in Divisoria and Quiapo for P40 to P150 each, the group reported.

Some may be fatal

Thony Dizon, coordinator of EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect, said the cadmium and lead were detected mostly in heart-shaped pendants used in bracelets.

Cadmium is a known carcinogenic substance especially when ingested. Lead is also a highly toxic substance that even in very low levels of exposure can bring about disabilities and organ failure.

Some may even cause death.

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Small enough

Dizon said the pendants were small enough for young children to swallow by mistake.

“The pendant with the highest lead content is about the size of the M&M chocolate candies,” he said.

“While jewelry isn’t made for young children, it’s possible for these attractive articles or their components to land on children’s curious hands,” Dizon stressed. “Cadmium and lead can enter their developing bodies when they place their hands or objects in their mouths.”

Proper labels

EcoWaste Coalition urged Philippine authorities to regulate the use of toxic metals in jewelry as their counterparts in Europe and the United States have done.

They should also require manufacturers to properly label the items to help consumers identify which products are safe, it said.

“The fact that the other four jewelry samples were negative for cadmium or lead is concrete proof that it’s possible to make products free of these toxic metals,” Dizon said.

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TAGS: cadmium, Consumer issues, gifts, Health, lead, Metro Manila, Philippines - Metro, toxic, toxins, trinkets, valentines day
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