The Swedish Chemical Inspection Agency has found high levels of hazardous substances in 15 percent of the children’s products they examined. For Halloween products, the number was even higher, with about 20 percent of the products containing harmful substances.
In the review, 297 toys and children’s products were examined, of which 44 contained higher levels of harmful substances. Phthalates were found in several products made of soft PVC plastic, such as dolls. There were also lead in numerous electronic products, as well as cadmium, boron, and bisphenol A.
Of the 35 Halloween products for children, such as face masks and decorations that were examined, high levels of dangerous substances were found in seven.
– In most cases, these substances pose no immediate risks to children’s health, but they contribute to the total exposure of hazardous substances that children are exposed to, and many of them have properties that can cause health problems if exposed to them over a longer period, says Frida Ramström, an inspector at the Swedish Chemical Inspection Agency, in a press release.
The products were sold through online marketplaces, museums, promotional companies, toy stores, and in grocery trade. About 30 percent of the products also lacked any type of labeling, such as contact details for the toy manufacturer.
Toys and electrical products must be CE-marked, which is a product marking within the EU indicating that a product meets requirements for health and the environment among others. However, several of the goods contained prohibited substances despite being labeled.
– It’s a problem that CE markings are placed on goods that aren’t safe, says Ramström. But we still recommend looking for CE-marked goods when buying toys and electrical products, as the risk of prohibited content is still higher among goods without the marking, says Ramström.
Following the review, the Chemical Inspection Agency contacted all companies with dangerous products, and almost all chose to stop selling them.
The Swedish Chemical Inspection Agency's advice to consumers:
- Buy toys and other goods of good quality, from known brands and well-established companies.
- Do not buy toys that lack CE marking.
- Avoid buying goods from marketplaces where the seller is located outside the EU. There are risks that they do not meet the safety requirements of EU legislation.
- If you have purchased an item that you suspect contains dangerous chemicals, contact the company you bought it from. You can also reach out to us at the Swedish Chemical Inspection Agency.