“Lato-Lato,” a toy that has been available both in local markets and online, is currently popular with children. The viral toy comes in different attractive colors, is made of two rounded plastic balls with a string attached, and is played by moving the plastic balls in opposite directions, colliding the balls to produce clacking sounds – “clack, clack, clack.”
Toxic watchdog group BAN Toxics has bought 10 samples of lato-lato toys, amounting from P15 (small size) to P25 pesos (big size), with the organization inspecting them based on health and safety regulations in the country.
According to the group, “All the toys that were checked had no proper labels, which failed the labeling requirements under Republic Act 10620 also known as the Toy and Game Safety Labeling Act of 2013.”
Citing RA 10620, “All toys and games locally or internationally manufactured that are imported, donated, distributed and sold in the Philippines shall comply with the appropriate provisions on safety labeling and manufacturer’s markings found in the Philippine National Standards (PNS) for the safety of toys.”
The group also noticed the other potential safety concerns of the toy which include choking, eye-injury, and strangulation. Non-visible cautionary statements in the packaging of the “lato-lato” toys include missing FDA-marked LTO numbers (License-to-Operate) that make the toy illegal to sell in the country.
According to an article published at thestoly.com last January, countries like the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada have banned the lato-lato toy due to safety hazards and the high risk of injury to children.
“Parents should be warned of the potential dangers of the lato-lato toy to their kid’s health and safety. These should be removed from stores near schools,” said Thony Dizon, Toxics Campaigner, BAN Toxics.
BAN Toxics, advocating for safe toys for kids urged the Food and Drug Administration to conduct post-marketing surveillance on lato-lato toys being sold in the market and online shopping sites. Eventually, the organization hopes that the FDA issues a health and safety advisory following the prohibition being done by other countries.
Criminal penalties under RA 10620 include imprisonment of not less than three (3) months but not more than two (2) years and a fine of not less than ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00) but not more than fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00), or both imprisonment and fine at the discretion of the court.