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The popular plastic chicken toys that create loud sounds when squeezed are still available in bargain shops in Manila, selling for P50 each and now available in various colors. These toys, which attract the attention of the public, have been found to contain undisclosed additives that may expose children to hazardous chemicals.

“Toxic watchdog group BAN Toxics reiterates its call to remove from the shelves the ‘shrilling chicken’ and all squeaky toys that have either been banned or are unnotified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA),” explained Thony Dizon, Toxics Campaigner of BAN Toxics.

The FDA had already ruled in 2020 against purchasing and using the unnotified product due to the presence of phthalates – a known endocrine disrupting chemical.

The ‘shrilling chicken’ was found to contain 8.4% di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) and 0.5 % diisononyl phthalate (DINP), exceeding the safety limit stipulated in DOH Administrative Order 2009-005-A s. 2011. This order states: “it shall be unlawful for any person to manufacture for sale, offer for sale, distribute in commerce, or import into the country any children’s toy that contains concentrations of more than 0.1 percent of di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), or benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP).”

Phthalates are plasticized Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), which belong to the so-called endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). These types of chemicals mimic, block, or interfere with hormones in the body’s endocrine system and have been associated with a diverse array of health issues including reproductive development effects.

The group likewise observed in its regular monitoring efforts that most of the toys still lack the mandatory toy safety labeling requirements under RA 10620. The Toy and Game Safety Labeling Law requires manufacturers to comply with labeling information, such as the license to operate (LTO) number, age grading, cautionary statements/warnings, instructional literature, manufacturer’s marking, and item, model, stock-keeping unit (SKU) number.

“We are saddened that banned toys are still being peddled in bargain toy shops, deceiving the public into purchasing cheap toys notwithstanding the danger of toxic exposure,” Dizon added.

“BAN Toxics calls the attention of the regulatory agencies to immediately conduct post surveillance and confiscation efforts to eliminate the illegal selling of unsafe toys in the market,” the group stated.