22/12/2014 - Permalink

Public protection team warns about dangerous chemicals in toy dolls

Related topics: Community / Partner organisations

News from our public protection partners in the West Midlands

Public protection / trading standards officers from a number of councils across the West Midlands region are warning consumers about the potential dangers caused by some cheap plastic dolls.  Officers purchased the toys from shops and markets and submitted them for testing to find out whether they contained chemicals dangerous to children called phthalates.

The findings were worrying, with 20% of the dolls purchased found not to comply with the Toys (Safety) Regulations 2011 because of the presence of these chemicals in excess of legal limits.

22 dolls made of plastic or with plastic parts, each costing as little as 99p, were purchased and tested.  Of these, four were found to contain a phthalate called DEHP which exceeded the legal maximum of 0.1% of the plastic material present.  Three of the failures contained in excess of 30% more DEHP than they were allowed, with the worst one being in excess by 51%.  Seven of the dolls also failed to meet toy safety labelling requirements.

The trading standards teams that purchased dolls which failed are now working to ensure that these are removed from sale.

A representative of the trading standards body CEnTSA, speaking on behalf of trading standards teams across the West Midlands, said: 

This project was carried out to check compliance levels in an area of product safety which has given problems historically and is currently an issue in other countries in the EU.  The toys purchased cost a range of prices, but it is noticeable that the toys which failed were extremely cheap.  It is only a small survey, but our findings suggest that there is more likely to be a problem with cheap dolls manufactured with the emphasis on low unit costs rather than consumer safety.”

Natasha Crookes, Director of Public Affairs for the British Toy and Hobby Association, said:

“The British Toy and Hobby Association’s members are reputable manufacturers who make products to the highest standards.  We are very supportive of trading standards authorities removing unsafe and cheap imitation goods from the marketplace.  Our members operate to the highest standards and we welcome these interventions which protect the interests of legitimate businesses, as well as protecting the public from those who would cut corners and put the public at risk.”