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Congress okays bill on children’s health

  • Written by Jester P. Manalastas
  • Published in Nation
  • Read: 317

IN a bid to protect children from hazardous chemicals, the House of  Representatives unanimously approved a measure that seeks to regulate the importation, manufacture, distribution and sale of children’s products containing hazardous chemicals.

The House approved House Bill 6702  or the “Safe and Non-Hazardous Children’s Products Act,” making it a State policy to protect and promote children’s right to health.

The bill commits the State to ensure  the right to health of children as enshrined in Presidential Decree 603 or the Child and Youth Welfare Code, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and other conventions on hazardous substances to which the Philippines is a signatory.

Under the measure, the State shall regulate the importation, manufacture, distribution and sale of children’s products containing hazardous chemicals.

Hazardous chemical includes substances to have been determined under the categories of the United Nations Globally-Harmonized System (GHS) for classification and labeling of chemicals such as flammable liquids and solids, explosives, acute toxicity (oral, dermal, inhalation), eye irritation/corrosivity, dermal iritation/corosivity, mutagenicity, carcinogenicity, reproductive toxicity and acute/chronic aquatic toxicity.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in coordination with the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), shall prepare a list of hazardous chemicals, which are banned or prohibited from being used in the manufacture, production, and preparation of children’s products.
     
Maximum levels, limits and reference values for certain chemicals used for the purpose shall also be specifically and clearly identified.
     
Hazardous chemicals deemed most harmful to children and commonly used in the manufacture and production of children’s products shall include toxic metals, phthalates and bisphenol-A (BPA).

The list of additional hazardous chemicals shall be reviewed and updated at least every two years or as soon as new chemicals or substances are uncovered to be injurious, dangerous or unsafe to children’s health.
 
Importers, manufacturers, distributors and sellers of children’s products shall comply with the standards, rules and processes of the Bureau of Product Standards of the Department of Trade and Industry- (BPS-DTI), which shall collaborate with other relevant government agencies to harmonize and upgrade existing standards.
    
The DENR shall regulate, control, restrict or prohibit the importation, manufacture, processing, distribution, sale, handling, use, transport and disposal of chemical substances or mixtures listed under Republic Act 6969 otherwise known as the “Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Waste Control Act of 1990.”
     
The DTI shall ensure that children’s products comply with Philippine National Standards on the Safety of Toys. It shall likewise monitor safety of children’s products through the conduct of market inspections.
     
Any person who shall commit any of the prohibited acts shall, upon conviction, suffer the penalty of imprisonment ranging from one year to 10  years or a fine of P50,000 to P500,000, or both, at the discretion of the court and in accordance with Section 11 of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Act of 2009.
     
If the offender is a manufacturer, importer or distributor of any product covered under this Act, the penalty of five years to 10 years imprisonment, and a fine of P500,000 to P5 million shall be imposed.
 
An additional fine of one percent of the economic value/cost of the violative product or P1,000,  whichever is higher, shall be imposed for each day of continuing violation after reasonable notice of such defiance.