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Are your flip-flops toxic?


People going to the beach for their summer excursions were warned Wednesday against high amounts of heavy metals in 11 brands of slippers or flip-flops sold in the country.
 
The EcoWaste Coalition said its X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) tests found lead, antimony, barium and cadmium above levels of concern in 11 out of 20 samples it tested.
 
“Aside from directly affecting those who wear these slippers, these toxic metals, particularly the lead on the painted parts of slippers, can spread into the environment as these wear out, as the soles rub on the ground and as these are later discarded or even burned,” said group coordinator Anthony Dizon.
 
He urged manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers to instead produce flip-flops without lead or other harmful chemical ingredients.
 
They should also label their products adequately so consumers can make wise decisions, he added.
 
"As for consumers, we urge them to use their power to demand products that do not pose hazards to health and the environment," he said.
 
EcoWaste said lead damages the brain, with children among the extremely susceptible because of their still-developing nervous systems.
 
It said health experts have determined no safe level of lead exposure, notably for fetuses and children.
 
Safety levels
 
The group said nine of the 20 samples tested went over the allowable limit of 90 parts per million (ppm) total lead content for painted surfaces as specified in the US Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.
 
Six samples registered having more than the 60 ppm soluble content limit for antimony, while three exceeded the soluble content limit for barium of 1,000 ppm.
 
Two samples, on the other hand, were found to have more than the 75 soluble content limit for cadmium.
 
The group said the samples were bought from vendors in various stores in Quezon City. 
 
This is not the first time they analyzed slippers or flip-flops for toxic chemicals.
 
In 2009, the group participated in a study conducted by the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation in seven countries checking slippers for levels of copper, nickel and dibutyl phthalate (DBP). –KG, GMA News
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