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‘Rubber loom bands dangerous to pets’

Rainbow loom bands for making bracelets are shown on display at a stall in Divisoria, Manila yesterday. The bands pose a danger to pets if swallowed, according to the Philippine Animal Welfare Society and the EcoWaste Coalition. EDD GUMBAN

MANILA, Philippines - The popular “Rainbow Loom” rubber bands can be dangerous to animals, cause-oriented groups warned the public yesterday.

The Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and EcoWaste Coalition reminded children and adults alike who are into the bracelet weaving craze to exercise caution so as not to harm pets.

PAWS said the “cute, but hard to digest rubber bands” can make cats and dogs ill.

“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,” Anna Cabrera, PAWS executive director, said.

The EcoWaste Coalition noted that veterinarians in the US reported incidents of intestinal obstruction among pet patients due to ingestion of the rubber bands, which can cause stomach upset and shatter the intestinal tract.

Symptoms of intestinal blockage include loss of appetite, nausea and diarrhea.

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   The incidents 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.”

Thony Dizon, coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect, urged the public not to buy counterfeit loom bands.

Dizon said that fake Rainbow Loom kits are being sold in markets without authorization from the Food and Drug Administration.

The group had the loom bands screened for toxic metals using a handheld x-ray fluorescence device.

“While we did not find lead and other toxic metals in the loom bands, there is no assurance that these products are totally safe for consumers and the environment,” Dizon said.

The groups advised loom band fans to protect pets from ingesting the rubber bands.

“They should not leave the rubber bands or the finished products on the floor where pets can get them. They should secure them in containers with cover or lid,” he said.

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