October 14, 2016
MANILA, Philippines – Environmental group EcoWaste Coalition recently warned the public against President Duterte inspired coffee mugs, which are tainted with hazardous chemicals that pose risk to human health and the environment.
According to Thony Dizon, coordinator of EcoWaste’s Project Protect, the group recently bought 20 assorted mugs, including four Duterte-inspired mugs, from various stores in the cities of Davao, Makati and Manila and subjected these to chemical analysis.
Based on the results, 18 items, including three of the four Duterte-inspired mugs, contained high levels of lead and cadmium, which are among the World Health Organization’s “top 10 chemicals of major public health concern.”
The group said the “DU30: Change is Coming” and “DU30: #PartnerForChange” mugs contained as much as 10,500 parts per million (ppm) of lead, which is more than 100 times higher than the 90 ppm threshold under the US Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.
The “DU30: Lungsod ng Dabaw” item, on the other hand, contained cadmium as high as 2,178 ppm, well above the 75 ppm limit.
“The hazardous substances may leach to the liquid and it is possible that these may be released through mechanical damage of the glazed or painted decorations,” said Dizon.
“As a precaution against possible human exposure, beverage and food containers should be toxic-free and safe for both children and adults to use,” he added.
Dizon noted that cadmium and lead may also be released into the environment, when the mugs are broken and thrown in open dumps or landfills.
In a report, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said “lead is a heavy metal that is toxic at very low exposure levels and has acute and chronic effects on human health.”
“It (lead) is a multi-organ system toxicant that can cause neurological, cardiovascular, renal, gastrointestinal, haematological and reproductive effects,” it added.
The UNEP further noted that cadmium “is a non-essential and toxic element for humans mainly affecting kidneys and the skeleton.”
“It (cadmium) is also a carcinogen by inhalation. Cadmium is accumulated in bone and may serve as a source of exposure later in life,” it said.
Meanwhile, Dizon urged coffee mug makers to use non-hazardous ingredients that will not pose dangers to human and the environment.
He said the mugs must also contain information about its manufacturers and it should include a precautionary warning that the glaze or paint used in it may contain lead or cadmium for the sake of consumers. – EAN