A study conducted by an environmental organization in Sweden revealed that some branded flip-flops, sandals, clogs and other plastic shoes manufactured or sold in seven countries, including the Philippines, have high concentrations of phthalates and heavy metals that are highly toxic. As reported by The Manila Times today, on Wednesday.
Too weak legislation
“We have found frightening concentrations of environmental toxins in the shoes that can spread to people and to the environment as the shoes become worn. The investigation also shows that companies have no control and that legislation is too weak,” said Mikael Karlsson, the president of the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC).
Based on the report “Chemicals Up-Close,” 17 of the 27 pairs of plastic shoes tested positive for phthalates, which are used as softening agents in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic.
Besides the EcoWaste Coalition, the Swedish society also partnered with five other groups, in for instance Indonesia for the chemical research.
Testing the Philippine sandals
EcoWaste bought seven different brands of slippers, sandals, clogs and plastic shoes in some malls and supermarkets in Quezon City in Manila and sent those to Sweden for the study.
Manny Calonzo, the President of EcoWaste Coalition, said that of the seven footwear, four of which were tested by the Swedish society, locally manufactured Adorable Dora sandals for children tested to contain 6.9-percent of phthalates, such as DEHP and 4.7-percent DiDP, another phthalate. Chaya slippers, China-made flip-flops, contained 8.6-percent DEHP.
Calonzo said that slippers for men made by World Balance registered the highest amount of DBP at 9.6 percent among the plastic shoe samples tested from the seven countries.
“We hope that the results of the investigation would prompt our lawmakers and regulators to craft and enforce legislation that will tighten, if not completely end, the use of toxic chemicals that are dangerous to public health and the environment,” he added.
Heavy metals in sandals
The Swedish society said that the shoes were also tested for a number of tin organic compounds and for heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, cobalt, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, manganese, nickel and zinc.
According to the group, “All the samples from the Philippines and elsewhere tested positive for varying concentrations of one or more of the 10 heavy metals analyzed, many of which are harmful to the endocrine, nervous and reproductive systems, are carcinogenic and allergenic, and highly toxic to aquatic organisms.”
The highest level of copper content was found in one shoe sample from the Philippines, while another sample, also from the Philippines, tested high for nickel content.