MEDICALLY REVIEWED

FDA Warns Public Against Health Hazards of Unauthorized ‘Lato-Lato’ Toys

lato-lato

The Philippines’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a public warning against purchasing and using unauthorized “lato-lato” toys. 

These toys are enjoying a resurgence in popularity in countries like Indonesia and the Philippines. However, it may present potential health hazards due to their lack of certification.

Unauthorized Toys in Circulation

In its advisory 2023-1299, the FDA identified a particular glow-in-the-dark lato-lato toy sold by an online Shopee store, citing that the product lacks a valid certificate of product notification. The agency emphasized that the manufacture, sale, distribution, promotion, or advertising of any health product without FDA’s proper authorization is strictly prohibited.

Given the toy’s lack of FDA notification, the agency cannot guarantee its quality and safety. This could potentially pose health risks to consumers.

What is Lato-Lato? 

Lato-lato, also known as clackers, clankers, or ker-bangers, is a simple toy that consists of two plastic balls or spheres, typically made from a durable material like acrylic, which are attached to opposite ends of a sturdy string or cord.

Here’s how it works:

  1. You hold the string in the middle so that the two balls hang down on either side.
  2. By moving your hand or wrist in an up-and-down or circular motion, you cause the balls to swing apart and then back towards each other.
  3. If done correctly, the balls will collide or “clack” together in the middle, making a loud noise. This is the characteristic “clacking” sound from which the toy gets its various names.
  4. The objective is to get the balls to clack together as many times and as quickly as possible.

The toy’s simple design and the skill required to make the balls clack together consistently make lato-lato or clackers a popular and entertaining toy for children and even adults. However, it should be noted that there may be safety concerns associated with this toy, such as potential choking hazards due to small or broken parts, or injuries from the balls clacking together with force. It is always advisable to use such toys under adult supervision.

Lato-Lato Toys: A Retro Trend with a Potential Threat

However, despite their popularity, these toys may contain hazardous ingredients, leading to health issues such as:

  • Endocrine disruption
  • Reproductive effects
  • Developmental effects

In addition to these health risks, the FDA also warned the public about possible physical injuries, choking hazards, or suffocation risks. This is due to the toys’ small or broken parts.

Public Caution and Compliance by Establishments

The FDA has advised the public not to purchase these toys until they are fully compliant with their rules and regulations. All concerned establishments have been warned not to distribute these violent toys until they meet the necessary standards.

To help consumers check the certification of a product, the FDA has a verification portal accessible at https://verification.fda.gov.ph.

Doctor’s advise

To keep yourself and your children safe, Dr. Miko Amansec advises those who use lato-lato to cease playing if they get a bump or bruise.

He also said doing ice compression for 15-20 minutes two or three times a day can help lessen the swelling of the affected area.

Wrap your arms in a towel to protect them. Also, take care not to accidentally make the balls hit the eyes.

Urgent Need for Consumer Awareness

The caution from the FDA serves as a timely reminder of the potential dangers of uncertified toys. As lato-lato toys continue to enjoy a resurgence in popularity, it’s crucial that consumers and establishments alike are aware of the need for proper certification and the potential health risks these toys can pose. It emphasizes the necessity of continuous monitoring and regulation of such products to ensure public safety.

 

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