School supplies found to contain dangerous chemicals

MANILA, Philippines - Several school supplies such as crayons, color pencil and watercolor in two bookstores in Morayta were found to have high levels of mercury after the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Food and Drug Authority (FDA) conducted an inspection.

School supplies found to contain dangerous chemicals

According to authorities, frequent exposure of humans to mercury may cause memory problems and neurological disorder.

The school supplies along with notebooks lacking packages were confiscated by the DTI. The confiscated school supplies will be brought to their offices for further investigation. Retailers will be given 48 hours or two days to submit a detailed report. A court hearing will then be set.

Under the law, if retailers and suppliers are proven guilty, they will be asked to pay a penalty amounting as much as P300,000 depending on the result of the investigation.

Meanwhile, the store managers of the two book stores claimed that they weren’t aware that the notebooks were lacking in pages. They said they are ready to file a report and cooperate with DTI.

On the other hand, the management of one bookstore can’t provide an explanation as to why the coloring materials with high mercury content passed their evaluation.

Parents are encouraged to be more cautious of the school supplies and materials that they are buying as these can be harmful to their children’s health.

Keep your kids safe from toxic school supplies by reading the labels. Here are some tips from

1. Read the labels.

School supplies which are lead-free must contain the label “non-toxic. If the product has PVC, its label shows the letters “V” or “PVC.” The product should also have manufacturer’s information like license to operate, brand or trademark, address of the manufacturer, net quantity as well as toxicity warnings.

2. Avoid plastic and vinyl materials.

While most kids want their bags or school supplies adorned with their favorite cartoon characters, it’s actually safer to buy non-plastic and non-painted materials which are usually less attractive.

3. Know the quality standards of each product.

Some products can be put to test before or after buying. For graphite pencils, they should not break easily when used or sharpened. They should also have an indication of their hardness (1,2,3). Crayons should not bend easily under normal temperature and ball pens should work smoothly even after being kept for at least three months.

--Mini, The Summit Express

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