BAN Toxics pushes for Toxic-Free School Supplies for Children’s Health and Safety

BAN Toxics pushes for Toxic-Free School Supplies for Children’s Health and Safety

As retailers begin to display various school supplies for early back-to-school shoppers, the toxic watchdog group BAN Toxics urges parents to be cautious when purchasing these items. They warn that some products may contain harmful chemicals like lead and phthalates, which pose significant health risks to children.

These include bags, water containers, lunch boxes, notebooks, pens and pencils, plastic covers, crayons, erasers, watercolors, and other items such as raincoats and rain gear. The group also noted during its market monitoring activity that some of the school supplies are improperly labeled or have no production information.

“Children’s products, such as school supplies, should be produced with the utmost care, ensuring that they are free from any hidden toxic chemicals that may jeopardize the health and safety of our children,” said Thony Dizon, Toxics Campaigner of BAN Toxics.

“We remind consumers to not only choose the cheapest items but also exercise diligence in reading labels and checking the safety of the products,” he added.

Regulatory agencies such as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) have issued guidelines and reminders to consumers regarding the purchase of school supplies. They also ensure that manufacturers of such products adhere to regulations prohibiting the use of harmful chemicals in children’s products.

In 2013, the DENR issued the Chemical Order for Lead and Lead Compounds, prohibiting the use of lead in the production and manufacture of school supplies.

Last year, the DTI issued a guide for buying school supplies, titled “Gabay sa Pamimili ng School Supplies,” cautioning the public that products labeled as “non-toxic” should provide proof that they have passed the allowed toxicity levels set by the FDA and the country of manufacture.

Meanwhile, the FDA also issued an advisory reminding parents, teachers, and consumers to exercise caution when purchasing school supplies, especially those used by very young children.

“BAN Toxics calls on national agencies to conduct monitoring and on-site inspections of school supplies being offered for sale in the market to ensure product standards and safety for our children. Consumers should be assured of access to affordable, quality, and non-toxic school supplies that will not pose health risks to children,” the group emphasized.

The group reiterated the following reminders on buying school supplies as stated in the FDA advisory:

  1. Be sure to read the school supplies’ labels.
  2. Choose school supplies suitable for your children.
  3. Periodically examine school supplies for breakage or wear that may cause injury or other risks to the health and safety of the child. In such cases, discard them properly.
  4. Always buy school supplies from reputable retailers or outlets.
  5. Immediately consult a physician in cases of accidental ingestion or any adverse health effects while using school supplies
  6. Contact the Food and Drug Administration if your children encounter safety and/or health-related problems.

BAN Toxics said it will strengthen its toxic-free school supplies initiative through market monitoring and test-buys to determine the presence of harmful chemicals in children’s products as part of the Toxic-Free School Campaign. (PR)


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