THE EcoWaste Coalition, an environment and public health watchdog, and Laban Konsyumer Inc. urged the government to take action and remove from the market lead contaminated vacuum flasks.
In a letter sent today to Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Health, the Coalition and the LKI notified them about the presence of high concentrations of lead on the paint coatings of three samples of unbranded vacuum flask that it procured from a discount store in Divisoria for PhP180 per unit.
The stainless steel flask with a removable plastic cap and stopper is decorated with pink or yellow paint and popular Disney cartoon characters. The product label provides no information about the manufacturer or its local distributor.
“The withdrawal from the market of the lead painted vacuum flasks that are marketed for children’s use will protect young consumers from a potential source of lead exposure. The lead paint on the exterior of the flask can wear off into chip and dust with its almost daily use and get ingested by kids through hand-to-mouth behavior. Health experts have confirmed there is no safe level of lead exposure for children,” said EcoWaste Coalition Chemical Safety Campaigner Thony Dizon.
For his part, LKI President Atty. Vic Dimagiba expressed fears for the health of kids using the contaminated flask.
“As what is at stake is the health and safety of consumers, particularly children who are most vulnerable to the adverse effects of lead exposure, we hope concerned authorities will act with dispatch and take the lead painted vacuum flasks out of store shelves,” said Dimagiba.
Using a portable X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) analytical device, the Coalition detected lead on the painted exterior of the three flasks way above the regulatory limit of 90 parts per million (ppm) as per the DENR A.O. 2013-24, or the Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds.
A yellow painted “Winnie the Pooh” flask had 37,600 ppm of lead. A light pink painted “Disney Princess” flask had 4,154 ppm of lead. A deep pink painted “Minnie Mouse” flask had 2,144 ppm of lead.
Lead, a potent neurotoxin, belongs to the Philippine Priority Chemical List and is banned in the production of architectural, household and decorative paints, in children’s toys and other consumer products that may pose lead exposure risk to consumers, especially to young children and pregnant women.
To justify the requested action, the groups cited the recall alert issued last April 19, 2018 by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on some 2,000 pieces of water bottles due to high levels of lead on the pink paint of the container that exceed the federal lead paint standard of 90 ppm.
The CPSC said that “lead is toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health issues” as it advised consumers to immediately stop using the recalled water bottles, take them away from children and return them to the store where it was sold.
It will be fitting to have the non-compliant products withdrawn from retail stores this coming October to coincide with the observance of the Consumer Welfare Month, the Coalition and LKI said.
The groups also stated that the requested action will reiterate government’s support to the global goal “to prevent children’s exposure to lead from paints containing lead and to minimize occupational exposures to lead paint,” noting that the International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week organized by the UN-backed Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint will take place on 21-27 October 2018.