Fake Christmas toys might give your kids asthma
Don't buy counterfeit toys this Christmas. Generally, that's a good rule to live by all year round, because knock-off toys usually look bad, and break easily, and it isn't worth the earache off the kids.
However, there's more to be concerned about - a number of fakes have been seized and after tests, it was shown that some of them have dangerous levels of chemicals in them, linked to asthma, cancer, and even infertility. A batch of knock-offs based on Disney's Maleficent characters were found to contain 18 times the legal limit of phthalates.
National Trading Standards officers have prevented around 2.6 million unsafe or non-compliant items from entering the country, but of course, some still get through.
Robert Chantry-Price, of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, said: "It is frightening to think that large quantities of phthalates are still being used in children's toys, especially when it can cause such serious long-term consequences to a person's health."
"Phthalates are carcinogenic, mutagenic and can cause reproductive problems but, despite legislation to the contrary, significant amounts of these substances can be found in a wide range of toys and childcare products."
If you want to avoid these products, the answer is pretty simple; you should buy toys from reputable retailers, and if it seems remarkably cheap, then be suspicious. Keep an eye on the packaging, and look for boxes that have the distributor's details on it, and the CE mark.