NGO: School supplies with high lead content still being sold
With only a few weeks remaining before classes begin, an environmental non-government organization urged the government to intensify the product safety monitoring of school supplies.
EcoWaste Coalition found out that some of the school bags they purchased from four different stores in Caloocan City had lead content higher than the allowed levels.
“Of the eight school bags bought and analyzed, six were found to contain lead in the range of 679 to 3,588 parts per million (ppm),” EcoWaste Coalition said in a statement on Saturday.
The group said the bags did not contain information on its manufacturers and its chemical composition.
“Studies have shown that lead exposure early in life can result in serious and irreversible damage to children’s developing brains, and cause decreased intelligence, poor reading and language skills, hearing loss, aggression, attention deficit disorder and other behavioral problems,” the group added.
EcoWaste Coalition also noted that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Administrative Order 2013-24 or the Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds bans the use of paints with lead content above 90 ppm in the production of children’s products.
“For our children’s health, we need to get rid of all preventable sources of childhood exposure to lead, including lead-tainted consumer products such as school supplies and toys,” the group added.
EcoWaste Coalition Chemical Safety Campaigner Thony Dizon said that while they support the move to check establishments’ compliance with the suggested retail prices (SRP), government agencies should also monitor if products comply with the safety requirements.
“Consumers should be assured of access to affordable as well as quality and non-toxic school supplies that will not pose health risk to children,” Dizon said after the Department of Trade and Industry conducted an on-the-spot inspection of retail outlets in Caloocan City on Friday.
“Monitoring should cover compliance with the SRPs as well as product safety requirements,” he added. /vvp