MANILA — An animal welfare group and an environmental group have reminded kids and adults who are into Rainbow Loom bracelet weaving – the hottest toy fad today – to exercise caution so as not to harm pets.
The Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and the EcoWaste Coalition jointly informed the public about the potential harm posed by cute, but hard to digest rubber bands used to make bracelets that can make cats and dogs ill.
The groups aired the warning after veterinarians in the United States reported incidents of intestinal obstruction among pet patients due to the ingestion of rubber bands, which can cause stomach upset and seriously shatter the intestinal tract. Symptoms of intestinal blockage include loss of appetite, nausea and diarrhea.
The incidents also prompted the manufacturers of the original Rainbow Loom, winner of the 2014 Toy of the Year Award by the Toy Industry Association, to advise pet owners to keep the indigestible rubber bands away from pets, warning that “one customer had rubber bands surgically removed from her pet’s stomach.”
“As the rubber band bracelet craze hits the country, we urge fans to remember that these loom bands could spell danger for pets and should be handled with care to prevent pet injuries,” said Anna Cabrera, executive director, PAWS.
For his part, Thony Dizon, coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect, urged fans to be cautious when buying counterfeit bracelet making sets and related items that are cashing in on the latest craze.
On June 21, the EcoWaste Coalition bought a fake Rainbow Loom bracelet making kit (P240/set) and seven other packs of loom bands (P15-35/pack) with no market authorization from the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) that are being sold in Divisoria and Quiapo streets, and had them screened for toxic metals using a handheld X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) device.
The screening showed no detectable levels of arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury and other toxic metals on the sample loom bands.
“While we did not find lead and other toxic metals on the loom bands, there is no assurance that these products are totally safe for consumers and the environment as these products have no FDA market authorization,” Dizon noted.
PAWS and EcoWaste Coalition advised loom band fans to follow the following precautionary measures to protect pets from ingesting the indigestible rubber bands:
1. Talk to kids about the importance of keeping the rubber bands away from pets (and also from infants and toddlers).
2. Do not leave the rubber bands or the finished products lying on the chair, table, bed or the floor where pets can get them.
3. Secure the rubber bands in containers with cover or lid.
4. Do not allow pets to play with rubber bands or with loom band bracelets.
5. Refrain from adorning pet’s collar or strap with loom bands.