´╗┐Customs reminds parents to watch out for toy safety (with photos)

17 Mar 2010

The Customs and Excise Department today (March 17) urged members of the public, especially parents, to stop children from playing with a type of "Flying Places" chess set which was found to be unsafe.

Customs officers conducted spot checks on shops after receiving a complaint about the supply of suspected unsafe toys by a retailer. Samples of the "Flying Places" chess set were sent to the Government Laboratory for safety tests and all the samples failed the tests.

Results of the safety tests revealed that the thicknesses of the plastic chess mats were less than 0.038 mm, posing the danger of suffocation to children.

The mats also contained excessive lead and chromium, failing to meet the requirements of the prescribed safety standards for toys. The toys were assessed to have a risk of causing poisoning to children. The excessive chemical content was as follows:

a) The soluble migrated element of lead in the material of the plastic chess mats had excessive lead content of 300 and 315 mg/kg, exceeding the prescribed standards of 90 and 250 mg/kg;

b) the total lead in the paint on the mats was 9,400 mg/kg, exceeding the prescribed standard of 600 mg/kg; and

c) the mats had a chromium content of 64 mg/kg, exceeding the prescribed standard of 60 mg/kg.

A Customs spokesman said, "A total of 75 sets of the toys have so far been seized from a supplier and 14 retailers. The department has also served prohibition notices under the Toys and Children's Products Safety Ordinance to them, prohibiting the supply of the chess sets. Investigation is continuing."

Customs conducts spot checks on the safety of toys and children's products to ensure their compliance with the safety requirements of the prescribed standards under the Toys and Children's Products Safety Ordinance in order to protect consumers' interests.

Under the Toys and Children's Products Safety Ordinance, it is an offence to import, manufacture or supply unsafe toys in Hong Kong.

The maximum penalty for the offence is a fine of $100,000 and imprisonment for one year on first conviction, and a fine of $500,000 and imprisonment for two years on subsequent conviction.

To report unsafe toys and children's products, the public can call the Customs 24-hour hotline 2545 6182 or write to the Consumer Protection Bureau, Customs and Excise Department, 11/F, North Point Government Offices, 333 Java Road, North Point.

Ends/Wednesday, March 17, 2010

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