BAN Toxics cautions the public on buying children’s school bags after it tested positive for lead based on the recent test buy operations conducted last May 22 to 29 in three cities in Metro Manila: Manila, Pasay, and Quezon City.
Using a SCIAPS X-200 HH XRF Analyzer, the kiddie bags, with prices ranging from 100 PHP to 180 PHP, were found to have exceeding amounts of lead, with levels up to 500 parts per million (ppm). The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Department Administrative Order 2013-24 or Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds strictly prohibits the use of lead in the production and manufacturing of school supplies.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), children are at risk of lead exposure. Lead exposure is particularly dangerous to children because their growing bodies absorb more of the chemical than adults do. Children’s nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead. Even at low levels, lead in children’s blood can result in learning and behavior problems, lower IQ, hyperactivity, slowed growth, hearing problems, and anemia.
“We call the attention of regulatory agencies, Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, to conduct enforcement action on the continued selling of unlabeled kiddie school bags with toxic lead in the market,” said Thony Dizon, Toxics Campaigner of BAN Toxics.
June is declared “Philippine Environment Month” by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 237. The observance of World Environment Day in the country is not only a gesture of the Philippines’ support to the cause of enhancing world ecology, but also a recognition of the imperative need to instill environmental awareness and concern among the various sectors of Philippine society.
“We likewise call the attention of the Department of Education to initiate environmental awareness activities among students, parents, and teachers to promote Toxics-Free Schools Program to safeguard our homes and schools from toxics and wastes exposure.” BAN Toxics added.
BAN Toxics is an independent non-government environmental organization that promotes Toxics-Free Schools Program (TFSP). It is a systems approach of implementing school awareness and programs on various toxics and wastes concerns and developing a safe environment for students, teachers, parents, and the communities in general.