Sun, Aug 12, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Test shows reduced levels of mercury in toy batteries

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

A survey recently released by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) showed 99.7 percent of the batteries in toys were in accordance with the regulation that limits mercury content to less than 5 parts per million (ppm).

The EPA said according to the Restrictions on the Manufacture, Import, and Sale of Dry Cell Batteries announced by the administration in 2006, the manufacture, import and sale of alkaline batteries and non-button alkaline manganese batteries, including batteries in products such as toys, clocks and appliances, which contain mercury levels above 5ppm are prohibited.

The manufacturers and importers are also required to submit documents, which include a test report of the batteries’ mercury level, to authorities for confirmation, it said, after which it receives a label reading: “this product has been confirmed by the EPA.”

The confirmation number must then be marked on the package.

The EPA said that based on the examination survey results over the past three years, only one kind of alkaline battery attached in a toy product, among 300 kinds of batteries tested, was found with excessive levels of mercury.

The findings show a marked improvement over 2005, before the regulation was introduced, when four kinds of batteries among 38 kinds of batteries tested were found to have excessive levels of mercury.

The EPA said that the regulation seemed to be have been effective in guiding the design of low-pollution and low-mercury batteries.

The EPA urged toy product manufacturers to ensure the batteries attached to their products have confirmation documents, adding that consumers should also check for the confirmation label and number on the batteries’ packaging before purchase.

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