The Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspection (BSMI) yesterday said a recent round of inspections showed that about 20 percent of children’s toy books contain an excessive amount of plasticizer chemicals that could be potentially harmful to health.
Although many children like to play with toys in the bathtub, BSMI reminds parents that certain toy books designed for bath time might contain too many harmful chemicals.
The BSMI recently inspected 10 types of children’s bath time books sold at retail chains, bookstores and toy stores across the country to test for the presence of phthalates esters and whether they were appropriately labeled.
Two out of the 10 toy books tested were found to contain excessively high amounts of phthalates esters, also known as plasticizer chemicals. The Alex brand toy book contained 282 times the legal maximum amount permitted in such toys, while the Sanrio brand toy book contained 181 times the legal maximum, the bureau said.
Plasticizers, or phthalate esters, contain environmental hormones that act as endocrine disruptors. The substances can potentially damage the liver and kidneys, causing men to develop female traits and increase the risk of breast cancer in women, bureau deputy director-general Huang Lai-ho (黃來和) said.
Huang said that young children play who with toys that contain too many plasticizer chemicals, could inadvertently chew on the toys or put their hands in their mouths without washing them, thereby inadvertently consuming the chemicals. Children under the age of three are especially at risk, with exposure leading to potential health problems, he said.
The bureau also found that half of the toy books inspected did not come with proper product labeling, including information such as the manufacturer’s name and address, translation of product labeling into Chinese, lacked product safety markings or information about the distributor.
Manufacturers found to be in violation of existing regulations have been ordered to recall the products and retailers to immediately take the products off their shelves, Huang said, adding that businesses that do not comply are subject to fines of between NT$100,000 (US$3,100) and NT$1 million.