Environmental group to street vendors: Stop selling lead-laden school supplies PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 23 May 2014 11:32

As parents and students go on back-to-school shopping spree before the start of classes next month, an environmental watch group on Thursday urged street vendors anew to refrain from selling toxic school supplies.

According to the environmental group EcoWaste Coalition, most of these vendors are selling their items either in Divisoria in Manila or Baclaran in Pasay and Paranaque, unaware that lead is a harmful substance that could damage a child’s developing brain.

The group confirmed that Artex Fine Water Colors are being sold in Baclaran for P65 to P85 per set after conducting a market surveillance along F.B. Harrison St. in Parañaque and Pasay.

After conducting test, samples of these watercolors were found positive for lead in the range of 5,900 to 37,000 parts per million (ppm), specifically on the yellow block.

The Department of Health–Food and Drugs Administration (DOH-FDA) has confirmed with the Department of Trade and Industry–Bureau of Trade Regulation and Consumer Protection (DTI-BTRCP) that Artex Fine Water Colors brand “is not registered/notified nor is there pending application for registration/notification.”

EcoWaste project protect coordinator Thony Dizon, in a statement, noted that the presence of high levels of lead in Artex Fine Water Colors warrants automatic product recall but it has yet to happen.

“We first notified the manufacturer Venus Commercial Co. and then our health and trade regulators about this threat to children’s health, but we have yet to hear an order from either the company or the government withdrawing Artex from the market,” Dizon said.

“It’s no wonder that vendors still sell Artex, which uninformed consumers buy,” he added.

Because of this, the group exhorted the national and local authorities to immediately prevent the rampant sale of the lead-laden water color sets.

“We appeal to both the national and local authorities to take immediate and decisive steps to rid the market of dangerous and substandard school supplies like Artex Fine Water Colors,” Dizon pointed out. “If not now, when?”