As spooky toys pop up in stores as Halloween approaches, the EcoWaste Coalition reminded the public to be cautious and vigilant when buying such toys as some of them may pose health and safety problems, especially for young children.
The watchdog group sounded the alarm after finding Halloween playthings in Binondo, Manila that are being sold without the proper authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the regulatory agency in charge of toy and game products.
“Like many toys that have flooded the market, most Halloween toys are sold without proper authorization and labeling. This is most concerning as unauthorized toys have not been assessed for their quality and safety before being placed on store shelves and sold for children’s use,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
According to the FDA, the use of unauthorized toys and childcare articles which have not gone through the agency’s notification process “may pose health risks to consumers.”
“The use of substandard and possibly adulterated toy and childcare article products may result in health risks including, but not limited to, endocrine disruption and reproductive or development effects; or may result in injury, choking or suffocation due to its small or broken parts,” the FDA said.
Among the Halloween toys that caught the attention of the EcoWaste Coalition and the potential health and safety hazards they pose are the following:
— Toy make-up set and lipstick that may contain banned ingredients or contaminants that can cause skin irritation, itchiness and other side effects.
— Light-up devil horn headbands with tiny button cell batteries that may get detached and swallowed by a child, causing damage to internal organs and chemical burns.
— Costume masks with fake hair that could be a fire hazard, especially if exposed to a naked flame.
– Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic toy spiders with over 2,250 parts per million (ppm) of lead.
— Big plastic imitation weapons that can result in blunt force trauma when used improperly.
— Toy axes and swords with sharp edges that can cause abrasions and cuts.
To protect children from preventable harm, the EcoWaste Coalition reminded consumers, particularly parents, to pay attention to the following toy safety tips:
1. Read the product label carefully and refrain from buying inadequately labeled and unauthorized toys.
2. Choose toys that are suited to a child’s age, ability and behavior.
3. Beware of toys that may cause injury or pose burn, chemical, choking, laceration, strangulation and other safety hazards.
4. Shun toys that have small parts such as button batteries and magnets that can be swallowed by a child.
5. Steer clear of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic toys that may contain banned phthalates and other hazardous substances such as cadmium and lead.
6. Refrain from picking toys that have a strong chemical or perfumed smell.
7. Avoid painted toys unless labeled as certified lead-safe.
8. Avoid face paints unless guaranteed free of toxic metals and other cosmetic contaminants.
Next week, the EcoWaste Coalition will share waste prevention tips for those planning to hold Halloween events with and for children.