Beware of charms in Chinese New Year bearing harm

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Some Chinese New Year charms and accessories might not exactly bring good fortune.

Consumer safety watchdog Ecowaste Coalition on Tuesday said it had discovered dangerous chemicals in 28 lucky charms and accessories, including a fertility amulet with a high level of lead that could induce miscarriage and premature childbirth.

Using an X-ray fluorescence (XRF) device, Ecowaste’s Task Force Chemical Safety said it found toxic metals—such as chromium, lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium and antimony—on 28 out of 30 animal figurines, as well as on figures of Buddha and Confucius, amulets, bracelets, hanging décor, urns and other charms for wealth and good health.

The samples were tested in anticipation of the beginning of the Chinese lunar year—the Year of the Water Snake—on Feb. 10.

Out of the samples the group said it bought from different stores and shops in Manila’s Binondo district, 18 were found to have chromium; 13 had lead; nine had arsenic; six had antimony; four had cadmium; and three had mercury.

Most of the items contained mixtures of the supposedly toxic metals, it said.

Adverse effects

Among the tested samples were a yellow-gold Chi Lin amulet containing 47,400 ppm (parts per million)  of lead and 1,350 ppm of chromium; a beaded door décor with the highest amounts of cadmium and antimony at 15,200 ppm and 3,357 ppm; a Confucius figurine containing 8,801 ppm of lead, 5,359 ppm of chromium, 1,069 ppm of arsenic and 12 ppm of mercury; six snake lucky charms containing chromium traces from 103 ppm to 972 ppm; and four bracelets which had multiple toxic metals at different levels.

“Lucky charms which are believed to produce a positive influence on a person’s good health and fortune should not contain hazardous substances that bring adverse health effects,” Aileen Lucero of the coalition said in a statement.

Amulet for the childless

She particularly cited a fertility amulet for childless couples which, she said, had the highest level of lead at 47,400 ppm, way beyond the 100 ppm limit for toys and children’s articles under the US Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008.

Bizarre, unacceptable

Lucero said lead was “extremely toxic” and could be passed from a mother to her unborn child.

“Too much lead in a mother’s body increases the risk of miscarriage or stillbirth, premature birth and low weight birth and may cause the child to have behavioral or learning difficulties. This makes the presence of lead in a ‘baby boom’ amulet bizarre and unacceptable,” Lucero said.

According to the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), lead is toxic even at very low exposure levels and can have “neurological, cardiovascular, renal, gastrointestinal, hematological, and reproductive effects.”

The UNEP described cadmium as a toxic metal that could adversely affect the kidneys and the human skeleton.

Major health concern

Cadmium, arsenic, lead and mercury on a list of 10 chemicals of major public health concern of the World Health Organization. They are also included in the country’s priority chemicals list, along with chromium.

“Toxic chemicals have no room in auspicious materials that Filipinos find in Chinatown in anticipation of good luck and as defense against misfortune,” Lucero said.

“Manufacturers should get rid of toxic ingredients in their raw materials and look for safer alternatives, and disclose full chemical information on product labels,” she added.

The Ecowaste Coalition is a national network of more than 150 public-interest groups pursuing sustainable solutions to waste, climate change and chemical issues toward a Zero Waste 2020 goal.

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • Bring back Phils Glory. Unite.

    i was about to buy charms for luck but i realised. don’t we have enough trust in God that we put our faith in these inanimate objects? resist those to choose God and start enforcing your belief in Him.

  • Hagler

  • MrRead

    Chinese culture is based on Superstition and unfounded beliefs.

    • yun_na

      Really? Pati ung siopao at Chinese medicine at tai chi based on unfounded beliefs? Ung

    • i_am_filipino

      I AGREE. THESE ARE PROPAGANDA SO THAT THEY CAN GENERATE MORE MONEY. THIS CHINK NEW YEAR AND BELIEF NEVER EVER BEEN ENTERTAINED IN EUROPE, USA, CANADA, AUSTRALIA. THE MORE YOu BELIEVE ON CHINKS PRODUCTS AND BELIEFS, THE MORE YOU WILL BE HEADING TO PAGANISM. CHINKS WILL TRY REALLY HARD TO CHANGE YOUR RELIGIOUS BELIEF AND WHEN THEY FAIL, THEY WILL INFEST YOU AGAIN AND AGAIN. THEIR GOVERNMENT TOLD THEM TO DO SO, SO AS TO SUPPORT AND LORDS THESE CHINK GOVERNMENT AND SUPPORT THEM UNTIL YOU GAVE UP YOUR COUNTRY. BEWARE OF CHINKS MANIPULATIVE. CHINKS WILL SPREAD THEIR PEOPLE TO STUDY IN USA, EUROPE, UK , AUSTRALIA, AND WHEN THEY COME BACK TO CHINK LAND, THEY FEEL THEY ARE THE MOST INTELLIGENT AND INJECT THE CHINK GOVERNMENT WITH LIES AFTER LIES AFTER LIES. STOP MADE IN CHINA TO AVOID BEING CONTAMINATED WITH CHINK POISON AND OTHER PRODUCTS.

      • DakuAkongUtin

        Im_a_jealous_kayumangmang, Pinos love the Chinese New Year, Its more fun watching dragon dance and eating kikoy for good luck. WHile your jealous kayumangmang azz need to find some turoturo and eat cheap botcha barbeque and get hepatitis A, B and C. Lalaki ang atay mo at didilaw ang kayumangging balat . Yan dapat ang gagawin mo , ang tyan mo ay lalaki ng husto para suerte sa bulate para sa Chinese New Yr of the Water Snake. 

      • mynnyx

        mga intsik dapat palayasin na sa pinas……………mang aagaw ng di sa kanila………………….

    • DakuAkongUtin

       Kayumangmang Romani Katolik culture is based on paganism mixed with christiano religiosity , superstition adn unfounded beliefs. Amen !

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VDMUJ6NKKCLWRMVMJRLJFI633I Rene V

    made in china kasi

  • farmerpo

    Do these charms taken as food? I don’t think so. Anyway, luck is what you make yourself. Good luck, bad luck, it is all within one’s mindset. As googlers says, always be ‘feeling lucky’ and ‘do no evil’. KungHeiFatchoy…. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/D3Y67DDOKWUY5CNC4M6MHZ2EEU Dodjie

    Niloloko lang kayo ng mga supposedly fung-shei experts.  Kung ano ano ang pinapagawa o pinabibili para swertehin sa buhay.  Sila ang nagpapatunay “that a sucker is born every minute”. 

    • DakuAkongUtin

       Every Pino is a scker believing what every dirty Kachila padres to pray and confess their wrong s to him . To offer their daughers and wives to be fcked by them so they can nearer to Hesus  Kristo. Considering this happened since 500 yrs ago until now.

      Hala ampo ampo at dasal dasal kayo sa padres  e mga pervertos pala mga yan. Hindi lang mga child predators and molesters in sheep’s clothings. Dyan ang tutuong karantaduhan  at hindi ang Fengshui .

  • http://twitter.com/kintoy Boardinggate101.com

    avoid China-made products !

  • bananabrain

    the best charm is to pay it forward and do good to others

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