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Beware! Toys you buy for kids may be toxic

January 15, 2010 16:34 IST

The next time you buy a toy for your little one, be more cautious as a new study says many of them may contain a toxic chemical which can prove dangerous for children especially those below three years.

A lab testing of random samples of various brands of toys available at Delhi markets found the presence of phthalates that can cause health disorders like allergy, asthma, skeletal defects, damage male reproductive system and impair lungs of children, Sunita Narain, Director of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), said.

The study by CSE found over 45 per cent of the samples exceeded internationally accepted safe limits for phthalates.
"What is shocking is that many brands had labels like 'non-toxic, safe for use'. Phthalates are chemicals used to soften plastic. So soft and inflatable toys can be more dangerous for the children who tend to put these in their mouth," Chandra Bhushan, associate director of CSE, said.

The study assumes significance as the ban on import of toys, not meeting voluntary standards issued by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), will end on January 23.

"But even these BIS standards do not cover phthalates while the European Union and the US have long back restricted the use of some phthalates in toys and child care articles to 0.1 per cent," Narain said.

The study noted that the Taiwanese and Chinese toys were the most contaminated. "Of the 24 samples picked randomly, 14 were found to be from China and 2 from Taiwan. 57 per cent of China-made toys and 100 per cent of Taiwan-made toys crossed the safe limit," Chandra Bhushan said.

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