Wednesday 7 December 2011

Toxic heavy metals found in children's products on the Chinese market

Feature Story - 2011-12-07

For many people around the world, particularly the little people under 12, Christmas is the best time of the year. Even in China where Christmas is not traditionally celebrated, Chinese New Year follows shortly after in January or February and is the country's most important holiday. Like Christmas, it is a time to return to your family home or hometown, and shower loved ones with gifts. For some of China's 120 million migrant workers it is the only time of the year they will have to spend with their parents and children. Read more

Tuesday 6 December 2011

EcoWaste steps up drive vs toxic toys in Baclaran

MANILA, Dec. 6 (PNA) -- EcoWaste Coalition Tuesday set up the first free "Toy Check-Up Tent" outside the Redemptorist Church in Baclaran, Parañaque City In a bid to reach out to grassroots consumers about the chemical hazards in some toys being sold in the market amid the pre-Christmas shopping spree. Read more

Monday 21 November 2011

32 of 50 Christmas gift items tested positive with toxic chemicals

MANILA, Philippines -- Popular Christmas gift items such as painted toys, glasses, and mugs tested positive with nasty chemicals known for damaging a child’s brain and future. “This is the outrageous truth that we have discovered after subjecting 50 product samples to chemical analysis,” said Thony Dizon, coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect. Read more

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Albanian Voice Conference “International Cooperation in Hazardous Substances and Product Safety in the Balkans“ results in concrete action of Albanian authorities

The first  Albanian Voice Conference “International Cooperation in Hazardous Substances and Product Safety in the Balkans“ took place on the 14th and 15th of October in Tirana, shortly after the conference first results in the Albanian politics can be observed. The conference was organized by LGZHI, the Albanian partner of WECF in the project “Product and Chemical Safety in the Balkans - civil society cooperation on EU acquis and values for consumer and corporate responsibility“.

For two days, around 200 participants from civil society organizations, national authorities and agencies, universities, institutes, trade unions, business representatives, media and other stakeholders in Albania discussed product safety and lacking regulation in the Balkan region, more than 15 speakers from national authorities were presenting the situation in Albania. The conference resulted in a joint statement of 23 civil society organizations demanding better control mechanisms for consumer products, especially toys. More information about the conference, the participants, the discussion and the recommendations: Albania Conference Report.

The statement was brought to the attention of state authorities and national media and immediately it showed some effect: For the first time Albanian CSI controlled toys on the market and many of them, including dolls, cars, plastic toys, were so dangerous for children that they took them off the market immediately. Now the CSI  sent an official letter to the Customs Authorities to have attention to the clearance of toys in Albania. Also the Ministry of Economy and Technical Centre Inspectorate took some measures according Recommendation 1: Continue to examine carefully input from stakeholders about potential improvements in toy safety, including suggestions for improved safety products in Albania.

National mass media covered the issue widely, including TV and newspapers. For the publication link by media as about the JS Safe Product Toys in Albania, please click here.

Monday 14 November 2011

Testing confirms that toys sold on the EU market still contain chemicals of concern

WECF releases results of tests made on 29 toys sold in the Netherlands, France and Germany. Even if not representative of the global toys market, the tests give information on some of the hazardous chemicals which can be found in toys placed on the EU market. The road towards healthy toys still seems to be long.
To learn more, read WECF press release here.

Thursday 10 November 2011

Big toys test 2011

In 2011 again on time before Christmas, Stiftung Warentest, a German research institute for consumer products, took a closer look at toys that are recommended for children over 3 years. 40 toys including 18 theme sets, 11 plastic toys and 11 plastic dolls were tested for phthalate and organotin compounds. The online test results, including PDF download in German, can be found here.

Monday 31 October 2011

WECF France and WECF the Netherlands organise Toys Events in November

A toys testing action on 16th November in Paris
Toys should not contain chemicals of concern that can be harmful to children’s health. To investigate the presence of brominated flame retardants, formaldehyde, benzene and other chemicals of concern in toys, WECF France organizes a toys testing action on November 16th in Paris.
Parents, children and all people willing to participate are invited to bring their toys and have them tested. Raising concerns about electromagnetic fields in toys will also be addressed.  The event is organized with the support of Quad-Lab laboratory. Read more

The First Dutch Ever Toys Convention on November 10 in Utrecht
The convention will be an informative and interactive afternoon attended by (concerned) parents, toy manufacturers, retailers, politicians, childcare workers, etc. In short, stakeholders, just like you.
Speakers and audience will collectively prepare  questions and statements which national and European parliamentarians can take with them.  During the convention everyone is invited to bring their toys and have them tested. Read more

EECCA NGO Appeal on toys safety

After the discussion between the NGOs and EU presidency on key issues of the Environment for Europe process on 23 September 2011 in Astana, EECCA NGO made an appeal to national governments of Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia region with the request to ensure toxic free toys.

The appeal was signed by 211 organisations  and 1500 individuals from all EECCA countries as well as from the South-East Asia, Mexico, Canada, the United States of America, and Germany. Read more

Seminar in Skopje "Journalists workshop for toy's safety"

Journalists for Children and Women Rights and Environmental Protection, a Macedonian NGO and partner of WECF, orgnised a seminar on toys safety on May 27 2011.

The Info Centre of the Delegation of the European Commission in Skopje was the location where participants and journalists from all types of media gathered. The seminar was organised as part of the “Product and Chemical Safety in the Balkans“ project. The event was visited by journalists and  representatives of SAICM and national institutions from Macedonia, as well the partners of the project from Serbia- Resource Center Leskovac and the Albania-Women's movement for Integral Development. Read more

For more information on toys safety please visit WECF website on Chemicals & Health.

Lead levels in new enamel household paints from Asia, Africa and South America

In 2006 a report on the analysis for lead in 80 new residential paints from four countries in Asia revealed high levels in three of the countries (China, India and Malaysia) and low levels in a fourth country (Singapore) where a lead in paint regulation was enforced. Read more

The lead content of currently available new residential paint in several Asian countries

Worldwide prohibitions on lead gasoline additives were a major international public health accomplishment, the results of which are still being documented in parts of the world. Although the need to remove lead from paints has been recognized for over a century, evidence reported in this article indicates that lead-based paints for household use, some containing more than 10% lead, are readily available for purchase in some of the largest countries in the world. Read more

Tuesday 20 September 2011

Sweden finds banned phthalates in toys

The Swedish Chemicals Agency (Kemi) has tested a number of toys and found that some contained levels of phthalates in concentrations higher than those legally permitted.
According to Kemi, after an analysis of 22 inflatable toys for use in water such as bathing rings, mattresses and beach balls, it found that three of the products contained higher than acceptable levels of the phthalates DINP and DIDP. The agency said that the companies, which had supplied the three toys, had been informed of the results and must now stop selling the products.
Frida Ramström, technical officer in Kemi's enforcement division, said the companies contacted were all Swedish and that “all of the products were made in China”.
She added that the agency planned to analyse more toys this autumn to examine phthalate levels. “This time it will not be bathing toys, but soft plastic toys like dolls, Halloween masks and so on," she explained. "I cannot say when the results from this study will be finished, since we have not started yet, but hopefully before Christmas.” Read more

Wednesday 27 July 2011

Toxic fun

30 percent of  toys gathered in different Philippine’s toys stores and tested by EcoWaste Coalition and International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN) were positive “for at least one toxic metal above levels of concern,” with 60 of them containing one of a group of dangerous chemicals that are known to be poisonous: antimony, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead or mercury. Read more

Tuesday 17 May 2011

Common Statement now available in Russian!

The common statement of the safe toys coalition is now available in Russian. Please have a look at the category "Common Statement".

Wednesday 4 May 2011

Heavy metals found in toys bought in Lagos, Nigeria

High levels of heavy metals were found in toys bought in Lagos, Nigeria. 51 Toys bought in different cities in Nigeria were examined. Lead, Cadmium, Nickel and Chromium were found in all the tested toys in varying concentrations.
The full legnths paper can be downloaded here.

Wednesday 23 March 2011

Cadmium in in children's jewlery: high exposure when mothed or swallowed!

Scientists revealed very concerning findings in a study, published in the peer-review journal Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP). Children who mouth or swallow cadmium containing jewelerymay be exposed to as much as 100 times the recommended maximum exposure limit to this toxic metal. The study revealed that damaged pieces leached in some cases up to 30 times more Cadmium than undamaged ones. The researchers found results, which indicate that the longer a cadmium containing piece stays in the child´s stomach, the more of the toxic metal leaches.
Cadmium can cause kidney, bone, lung and liver disease.

Read the article on Science Daily and the abstract on ehp. Download the original study from ehp here.

High levels of Phtalates found in childcare dust

A studie conducted by the German NGO BUND has revealed that in dust, collected in German childcare institutions, high levels of the phatalates DINP and DEHP were found. Here you can read more in German about the study. The European Union classifies DEHP officially as toxic to the reproductive system, DINP is not yet classified. The levels of these softeners were on average thrice as high as as those found in German households in a survey conducted by the German federal environment agency (UBA).
Softeners in toys are allready banned, but still allowed in other products.

Thursday 17 February 2011

How to choose toxic free toys - handy guides in several languages

WECF has put together essential information in small guides. There are tips for everyday life consumer decisions when buying toys for children. The guide is available in several languages, such as Chinese, English, French, German, Greek, Dutch or Macedonia. The newest translation is in Estonian. You can find them on the WECF website.

65.000 reasons for better chemicals!

Children are exposed to a cocktail of chemicals every day; from the indoor climate, from the food they eat, and from the products they use. This leaflet from the Danish Environmental Protection Agency gives eight adivces on how to deal in your every day life with the knowledge about endocrine disruptors and children. It can be downloaded here.

Toxic chemicals in toys - new articel

The articel "Toxic chemicals in toys and Childern's Products: Limitations of current Responses and Recommendations for Government and Industry" by Monica Becker, Sally Edwards and Rachel Massey was published in the environmental science and technology feature.
How are governments, industry and NGOs reacting to the fact that toxic chemicals are found in toys and other childerns products? What could one of them do to tackle this thread?
These are some of the questions the authors try to answer.

Toys in Vietnam

The interest in the toxic toys issue keeps me busy - even in my holidays. In Vietnam I read about the fact, that 85 % of toys are smuggeled from China. No way to judge the safety of the toys for parents - and not even for authorities. Therefore the Vietnamese authorities created a system of "safety stamps" which have to be applied to every toy before selling. See article below.
Hope that the enforcement works, so...
Here you see a toys store in the old city centre of Hanoi.
Sonja Haider

Wednesday 26 January 2011

What toxic chemicals in toys do

Watch Cindy and see what happens when toys contain toxic chemicals...

Safe Toys Guide now available!

The WECF Safe Toys Guid is now ready to download in English. The German version is updated and available from Publications or the WECF homepage.