Chain Store Voluntarily Removed the Product in the Philippines

Parents, beware. Plastic baby bibs may harbour toxic chemicals that are hazardous to your baby’s health.

In the Philippines, white polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic sheet of the MR. D.I.Y. Plastic Baby Bib was found in a lab analysis to contain di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) at 86,700 parts per million (ppm).

The finding was made by the toxics watchdog group there, Ecowaste Coalition, which requested the management of MR. D.I.Y. to immediately stop the sale of the baby bibs and to return the remaining stocks to their supplier for environmentally sound disposal.

“We laud MR. D.I.Y. for heeding our request for action to protect babies from being exposed to a hazardous plastic chemical banned in child care articles,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

DEHP belongs to a family of industrial chemicals called phthalates, which are added to some plastics like PVC to make them flexible and soft. DEHP, an endocrine disrupting chemical or EDC, is known to cause cancer in animals.

According to environmental health specialist Dr Geminn Louis Apostol of the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health, “exposure to phthalates and other EDCs even in tiny amounts can disrupt the essential functions of the endocrine system and lead to hormonal imbalances, which may result in reduced intellectual capacity, reproductive disorders, weakened immune system, and other behavioural and health issues.”

The US Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) bans DEHP in concentrations greater than 0.1% or 1,000 ppm in children’s toys and child care articles. Aside from bibs, other child care articles covered by the ban include children’s infant and toddler bottles, pacifiers, sippy cups, sleepwear, and teethers.

DEHP, along with 5 other phthalates, in concentrations above 0.1%, is also banned in children’s toys in the Philippines.

Besides the plastic baby bibs, laboratory tests also detected banned phthalates in other child care articles purchased by the EcoWaste Coalition from other retailers, including the plastic lining of reusable baby panty with 14.3% DEHP and a baby diaper changing mat with 8.62% diisononyl phthalate (DINP) and 0.325% DEHP.

“Strengthened and expanded regulations, including chemical ingredient transparency, are needed to protect foetuses and children from phthalates and other EDCs in products and the environment,” the group said.