• Germany's news in English

Plastic toys 'could pose danger' to kids: BUND

DPA/The Local · 17 Jul 2015, 12:00

Published: 17 Jul 2015 12:00 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The organisation is demanding stricter regulations from legislators and toy manufacturers, BUND chemical expert Ulrike Kallee said.

The demands follow recent analysis carried out by the organisation – which produced worrying results.

BUND tested a range of plastic, fabric and leather products from a well-known manufacturer. The products included toys such as action figures, as well as a dressing up costume and children's bath toys.

The products, mostly produced in China and India, are widely available across Germany.

In the analysis, only one in nine products was found to be free from plasticizers and other harmful chemicals.

In five of the nine products, BUND found plasticizers – so-called phthalates – which can be taken in via the mouth or direct contact with the skin.

In one product, experts found traces of DEHP – a phthalate banned in toys across the EU. In the product, levels of DEHP were above the EU limit of 0.1%.

"Because supply chains are so long, manufacturers often don't know what's in their products," said Kallee.

Levels of DEHP were "extremely elevated" in one snorkel set also tested by the group.

"This is actually not illegal, as the product is being marketed as a commodity rather than a toy," said Kallee. "But we consider it worrying that such a product could end up in a child's mouth."

Six of the products tested were found to contain polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAK), which according to BUND can be carcinogenic – prompting concerns that current regulations aren't strict enough.

'A "cocktail" of chemicals

Although in many cases the levels of chemicals found were below EU limits, BUND fears that a harmful "cocktail" of chemicals could be present in many everyday products.

The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) has stated that it cannot make a full health assessment based on BUND's report.

It is inevitable that small amounts of these substances will be released upon contact with saliva or sweat, they said.

"Only those substances which have been released in such a way can actually be taken in by the body and have any possible effect on health," they continued.

The German Toy Manufacturers' association (DVSI) has criticised BUND's report, which is based on the organization's own criteria rather than legal requirements.

Manufacturers are heavily involved in product development, they stated – and carry out "extensive tests" to insure the quality and safety of their products.

However, the global market has created new challenges in terms of detecting unsafe products and withdrawing them from circulation, they added.

Story continues below…

Germany told to stick to EU rules

Germany recently lost an appeal against the European Court of Justice (ECJ) regarding antimony, arsenic and mercury in toys, reported Chemical Watch.

The country wished to set its own limits for the heavy metals – which it argued were stricter than those set out by the EU toy safety directive.

However, the argument was rejected first by the European Commission, and on later dates by the General Court and ECJ.

Germany has been ordered to stick within EU limits of these heavy metals – with warnings of legal action if it does not fully implement the EU toy safety directive.

The metals, as well as being considered carcinogenic, can cause extensive damage to the nervous system.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd