House passes bill regulating toxic chemicals in children’s toys

THE House of Representatives has approved on second reading a bill which would keep children safe from toxic chemicals and hazardous substances.

House Bill 6552 seeks to regulate the importation, manufacture, sale and distribution of children’s toys, school supplies, childcare articles and other related products containing toxic chemicals.

Rep. Anthony G. Del Rosario (1st District, Davao del Norte), one of the authors of the bill, said the inadequate labeling and the inability of the consumers to tell whether a particular toy or child article contains toxic and hazardous substances poses a danger to the consumers, more so to children.

“Such exposure can cause adverse health effects ranging from asthma and allergy symptoms, acute poisoning, neurological disorders, lowered intelligence performance, kidney and skin problems and even cancer among others,” Del Rosario said.

Under the bill, chemicals and substances deemed most harmful and toxic to children and commonly used in the manufacture and production of children’s products include but not limited to toxic metals such as
Antimony, Arsenic, Cadmium, Chromium, Lead and Mercury; Phthalates; and Bisphenol-A (Bpa).

The measure directs the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prepare a list of chemicals and substances used in children’s products which cause or may cause harm, injury, or death to children; identify banned or prohibited substances and chemicals used in the manufacture, production, and preparation of children’s products and identify maximum levels and limits and reference values for certain chemicals used for the same.

To ensure the health safety of consumers relative to the use of products covered in this Act, the bill designates the Department of Health (DoH) to formulate policies, rules and regulations on food, drugs cosmetics, devices and substances.

Another agency, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is mandated to regulate, control, restrict or prohibit the importation, manufacture, processing, sale, distribution, handling, use, transport and disposal of chemical substances mixtures under Republic Act No. 6969, “Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Waste Control Act of 1990”, among others.

The Department of Finance (DoF), on the other hand, is responsible under the bill to monitor the entry of imported products covered under this Act as well as review and conduct examination of documentary requirements of imported products pursuant to the guidelines of the Department.

The Department of Trade and Industry has the duty to enforce policies and regulate the importation, manufacture, distribution and sale of educational kits or school supplies, ensure that covered products comply with the Philippine National Standards on the Safety of Toys set by the Bureau of Product Standards and monitor and conduct market inspections on covered products.

The bill creates a Children Product Safety Council to engage in studies and researches on harmful and toxic chemicals and substances; conducts consultations with stakeholders, information campaigns; undertakes activities to improve policies and rules and regulations on the subject.

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