Groups warn students: Some erasers contain toxic chemicals – Manila Bulletin

2022-09-17 05:25:58 By : Mr. Andrew Wei

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A piece of advice to students going back to classes on Monday, August 22: you may want to think twice before putting an eraser into your mouth.

Non-government organizations Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (IDIS) and EcoWaste Coalition raised concern about the potential hazard of putting objects, such as plastic erasers, into the mouth as some of these allegedly contain toxic chemicals.

The IDIS and Ecowaste said that erasers, especially those made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic, may contain phthalates.

Phthalates, which are known endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), are synthetic compounds used to soften PVC plastic. The two NGOs said these can affect hormones such as estrogen or testosterone, and interfere with normal growth and brain development.

“A child unknowingly ingests phthalates in a plastic erased whenever she or he puts it in the mouth,” Lemuel Manalo, program coordinator of IDIS, said on Sunday, August 21.

“Exposure to phthalates can adversely affect a child’s health, including contributing to neurodevelopmental and behavioral problems, obesity, and increased risk of allergic diseases such as asthma,” he added.

Meanwhile, EcoWaste Coalition adviser Manny Calonzo said there are other potential sources of phthalate exposure in a child’s environment such as PVC or vinyl toys, backpacks and raincoats, processed foods, cosmetics, and flooring materials.

“It is therefore important to know and minimize, if not eliminate, such sources to protect our children from being exposed to phthalates,” Calonzo noted.

IDIS and EcoWaste cited the results of phthalate analysis for eraser samples from the Philippines which was carried out by the Wonjin Institute for Occupational and Environmental Health (WIOEH) with support from the Korea Financial Industry Public Interest Foundation (FIPIF).

From 40 eraser samples that were bought and analyzed by the WIOEH, they found out that 31 pieces (78 percent) contained one or more phthalates such as Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), Dibutyl phthalate (DBP), Diisobutyl phthalate (DiBP), and Diisononyl phthalate (DiNP).

Moreover, 19 erasers (48 percent) were determined to contain phthalates ranging from 10.1 percent to 36.7 percent – way above the 0.1 percent total limit under South Korea’s Special Act on the Safety of Children’s Products, which sets standards commonly applied to children’s products used by or for children under the age of 13.

IDIS and EcoWaste said they were pushing for an expanded ban on phthalates in all children’s products, including school supplies, to reduce their exposure to EDCs and protect them from harm.

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