Envi group warned on toxic art materials openly sold to the public

Sep. 06, 2022

Photo courtesy of EcoWaste Coalition

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines — An environmental group has raised the alert on toxic art materials following its purchase of crayon and watercolor sets that have been previously verified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as containing heavy metals.

On August 20, EcoWaste managed to buy FDA-warned MPC Classique Water Colors and Fairyland Crayons for P336 a dozen (or P28 each) and P180 a dozen (or P15 each) from vendors of school supplies in Binondo, Manila.

FDA Advisory 2017-272 has cautioned the public against the purchase and use of the said watercolor set, which the agency found to contain lead above the maximum limit of 90 parts per million.

EcoWaste warned parents, teachers, and learners on the hazard of using art coloring products laced with toxic chemicals, especially with the recent opening of face-to-face classes nationwide.

“Crayons and water colors are typically used by children 12 years of age or younger. It’s very important for these familiar art materials to be safe from lead and other hazardous chemicals,” said Aileen Lucero, EcoWaste Coalition’s national coordinator.

She said it is common for a child to put objects in her or his mouth causing unintended ingestion of harmful substances. “Thus, the need to keep school supplies toxic-free,” she added.

Another FDA advisory, 2018-008, warned consumers from buying and using the said crayons and two other school supplies, “which have been verified to contain unacceptable levels of heavy metals, including lead, cadmium and mercury, based on FDA safety standards.”

As mentioned in Advisory 2018-008, lead exposure in children may have long-lasting or permanent consequences, such as neurological damage, delayed mental and physical development, attention and learning deficiencies, impairment of cognitive functions of the brain, and hearing problems.

Long-term exposure from inhalation of cadmium may result in chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, emphysema, and chronic kidney diseases. Meanwhile, exposure to Mercury even in small amounts may cause serious health problems and is a threat to the development of the child in utero and early in life.

Aside from MPC Classique Water Colors and Fairyland Crayons, the EcoWaste Coalition reminded consumers to avoid other FDA-warned art materials that may still be on store shelves, including Artex Fine Water Colors, Xiao Yiren Water Colors, Ultra Colours Crayons, Leeho Glitter Fabric Paint Pen, and “12 in 1 pencil.” (davaotoday.com)

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