Fri, Jul 09, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Inspection finds unsafe baby walkers

BY SHELLEY HUANG  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Consumers’ Foundation and the Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspection (BSMI) yesterday said that 20 percent of baby walkers in a recent survey were found to contain harmful substances and would be recalled.

The consumer rights watchdog and the BSMI yesterday held a joint press conference to announce the results of the inspections on 10 types of baby walkers on the market. The tests included inspection of seat design, overall structure and labeling.

Inspectors found that two of the baby walkers contained chemical substances that are used as plasticizer at amounts exceeding the legal maximum of 0.1 percent by mass.

“Since babies often lick things or put them in their mouth, plasticizer chemicals could potentially enter babies’ bodies that way and disrupt their endocrine system,” BSMI Deputy Director Chuang Suh-chyin (莊素琴) said.

Chuang said that the chemicals are a type of environmental hormone and act as endocrine disruptors, which can cause males to develop feminine characteristics and can lead to an increased risk of breast cancer in females. The chemicals could also potentially damage the liver and kidneys.

The sub-standard products, priced at more than NT$2,000, were among the relatively expensive types of baby walkers inspected by the authorities. The other eight types of baby walker passed all of the product safety inspections.

“The BSMI has already ordered manufacturers and retailers to take the affected products off the shelves and make immediate improvements,” Chuang said.

The foundation advised parents against putting babies younger than six months old in a baby walker because babies at this age should develop their muscles to learn to sit and crawl. Babies who sit in baby walkers for extended periods of time could hinder muscle development in their feet.

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