Parents buying presents for their children this Christmas are being warned about dangerous levels of chemicals found in fake toys.
Investigators from Trading Standards in Warwickshire have this month found counterfeit figures replicating merchandise from Disney’s Maleficent film contained 18 times the legal limit of phthalates.
Phthalates are carcinogenic, mutagenic and can cause reproductive problems but, despite legislation to the contrary, significant amounts of these substances can be found in a wide range of toys and child care productsChartered Trading Standards Institute
The use of phthalates, which can disrupt children’s hormones, leading to a risk of cancer, asthma and fertility problems in later life, is tightly restricted across Europe and toy manufacturers and products must contain no more than 0.1%.
In January, fake Frozen dolls were found to contain high levels of phthalates, with thousands of the toys seized from shops in Pontefract and West Yorkshire.
Other cheap imports and counterfeit products such as dolls, swimming goggles, fancy dress make-up, false nails and loom bands have also been seized or recalled because of unacceptable levels of the substance.
Robert Chantry-Price, of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, is reported as saying: “It is frightening to think that large quantities of phthalates are still being used in children’s toys, especially when it can cause such serious long-term consequences to a person’s health.
“Phthalates are carcinogenic, mutagenic and can cause reproductive problems but, despite legislation to the contrary, significant amounts of these substances can be found in a wide range of toys and child care products.
“If these toys fall into the hands of very young children or babies, it’s more likely they will chew on the plastic and consume the chemicals.”
“Trading standards services are continuously working to tackle the issue but it is vital that consumers remain vigilant too,” he added.
He advised parents to be cautious and buy only from reputable shops, beware of products that are drastically cheaper and look at the packaging for the distributor’s details and a CE mark.