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A Toxics-Free Future

Chemicals in products

XRF Training Provides Tools to Test for Toxics in Consumer Goods and the Environment

EcoWaste Coalition, EARTH and IPEN carried out a two-day training on the Xray Fluorescence Spectrum Analyzer (XRF) in November in Bangkok. The XRF can be used to measure products such as toys, handbags, costume jewelry, school supplies and other consumer goods for the presence of dangerous toxic metals like lead, mercury, arsenic, antimony, cadmium, and chromium.

On June 10, 2014, IPEN joined more than 80 environmental and human rights organizations, socially responsible investment firms, and occupational health professionals to send a letter to Lisa Jackson, Vice President of Environmental Affairs at Apple, calling on the company to remove hazardous chemicals, such as benzene, from its supplier factories in an effort to protect workers from grave illnesses.

"Parents are more and more concerned: our offices are flooded with information requests from worried mothers and fathers who are outraged because they have no means of knowing which harmful substances are in toys, and that policy makers and industry are not doing enough to protect their children’s health. They demand full disclosure of ingredients (as with cosmetics) and stricter laws that apply the precautionary principle, with zero tolerance for harmful chemicals". 

by Alexandra Caterbow, senior chemicals/health policy adviser, WECF

In August 2013, IPEN Co-Chair Dr. Olga Speranskaya was interviewed on the Russian national television program "Doctor I" about hazardous chemicals in products, mainly in children's toys.

See the video at this link:


Environment and Social Development Organization (ESDO) conducted a study on toxic levels in toys and public perception in Bangladesh from October 2012 until August 2013. During the study, toys were collected from different stores in Dhaka and sent to the Nepal Bureau of Standard and Metrology for analysis.

Levels of toxic metals in 97% of the toys tested were signficantly above the European Union and United States recommended ceiling for lead, cadmium, bromine and chromium.


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