Environmental group warns of lead and cadmium in some school supplies │ GMA News Online

With the school year due to open on August 22, environmental group EcoWaste Coalition warned on Saturday that toxic chemicals including lead and cadmium which could affect children’s wellbeing were present in some supplies school.

The EcoWaste Coalition, which pushes a campaign for chemical safety and zero waste in schools, said it conducts a test purchase of school supplies every year to examine whether the products contain chemicals harmful to children.

They purchased the products from retail stores in various regions, including Manila, Quezon City, Cagayan de Oro, Iligan City and Davao.

Using X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzers, the group found that 38 out of 85 school supplies contained harmful levels of lead and cadmium. Items analyzed include:

  • painted metal clips and pins
  • stainless steel water bottles
  • cable reels
  • graphic bookmarks
  • lunch bags
  • backpack
  • raincoats

“Lead is a very potent neurotoxin, targeting the brain and thinking of the person, especially children,” said environmental health specialist Dr. Geminn Louis Apostol.

“While children are still young and exposed to these chemicals that target their brains, it could eventually affect their thinking and intelligence.”

Apostol added that a person’s IQ drops by 0.25 to 0.5 for each increase of one microgram per deciliter of lead in the blood.

Citing data from the World Health Organization, the EcoWaste Coalition said lead and cadmium were included in the top 10 chemicals of public health concern.

Chemicals have also been included in the list of priority chemicals in the country.

The environmental group added that the school supplies allegedly did not contain any information regarding their chemical compositions.

In a separate study, toxic phthalates or plasticizers mixed with PVC plastic were found in 31 out of 40 erasers.

The EcoWaste Coalition has called on manufacturing industries to stop using hazardous chemicals in school supplies.

He also urged manufacturers to state the chemical content on product labels to serve as a warning to the public.

He also urged for a law or regulation to ban dangerous chemicals in children’s products. — DVM, GMA News

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