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Pinoys warned vs uncertified lights

ENVIRONMENT activist EcoWaste Coalition sounded the alarm over the sale of substandard Christmas lights as it ramped up its drive for a zero-waste and toxic-free observance of the yuletide season

To support the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) campaign against unauthorized Christmas lights, the EcoWaste Coalition conducted test buys on November 18 and 19 in Manila's Binondo district and in Libertad, Pasay City.

The DTI repeatedly reminded consumers to check for the Philippine Standard (PS) mark or Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) sticker before purchasing Christmas lights, as uncertified ones may not meet quality and safety standards.

Of the 15 Christmas lights purchased for P100 to P250 per set, 10 products lacked the required PS mark or ICC sticker. Two of these 10 uncertified products were also unlabelled.

The absence of a PS mark or ICC sticker on the label means that the product has not undergone the required certification process of the Bureau of Philippine Standards (PBS), the EcoWaste said, noting that Christmas lights are among the products covered by the government's mandatory certification scheme.

Using an X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzer, the coalition also detected lead, a toxic chemical, in eight out of the 15 products purchased. Lead poses a risk to the environment and to human health.

Also, the green cables of the nine products were found to contain lead in the range of 3,220 to 8,440 parts per million (ppm), which is above the 1,000 ppm limit under the European Union's Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) in all electrical and electronic products.

RoHS specifies levels for the following restricted substances in electrical and electronic products such as heavy metals cadmium, hexavalent chromium, lead and mercury, flame retardant chemicals polybrominated biphenyls and polybrominated diphenyl ethers, and phthalates DEHP, BBP, DBP and DIBP.

«These restricted materials are hazardous to the environment and pollute landfills, and are dangerous in terms of occupational exposure during manufacturing and recycling,» the RoHS warned.

The EcoWaste Coalition urged DTI offices all over the country to step up their monitoring of uncertified Christmas