The organization BAN Toxics recently purchased various school supplies in Divisoria, Manila, for testing. These supplies included backpacks, crayons, pastel colors, pencils, pencil cases, and water containers.
Unfortunately, the tests revealed that many of these items contain harmful levels of toxic lead.
The kiddie water container has the highest lead concentration among the samples, reaching up to 24,500 parts per million (ppm).
“Our investigation proves the continued presence of toxic chemicals in children’s products. We advise parents to take necessary precautions when buying school supplies,” informed Thony Dizon, Toxics Campaigner of BAN Toxics.
Lead is a dangerous substance that builds up in the body over time. It can harm many parts of the body and is especially dangerous for kids.
Lead can harm children’s brain development, leading to lower IQ (intelligence quotient), changes in behavior like shorter attention spans and more antisocial behavior, and lower educational achievement.
Lead exposure can also cause anemia, high blood pressure, kidney damage, weakened immune system, and harm to reproductive organs.
The effects on the brain and behavior from lead exposure are believed to also be permanent.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a guideline for parents to be careful when buying school supplies, especially for young kids. To buy school supplies wisely, the FDA advise to:
- Check the labels on the school supplies. Read the safety precautions on the use of school supplies. Pay attention to the warning symbols and instructions on the packaging to know what to do in case of an emergency or misuse of the product.
- Select school supplies that are appropriate for your children. Usually, school supplies should be safe for kids of all ages. But some supplies can be dangerous, such as erasers that could pose a choking hazard or glue and paints that could be harmful if ingested.
- Make sure to purchase school supplies from trusted stores to guarantee the products’ quality and safety.
“We will continue to raise public awareness on toxic chemicals in children’s products as part of our campaign for Toxic-Free and Waste-Free Schools. The protection of our children from toxic harm is their basic right,” the group said.
BAN Toxics is an independent environmental organization that promotes environmental justice, health, and chemical safety. They work towards managing chemicals and waste in schools, homes, and communities. Their efforts are focused on women, children, and other marginalized sectors.