Nottingham

'Toxic' Christmas dolls prompt UK-wide trading standards alert

Dolls Image copyright Nottingham City Council
Image caption The dolls mimic popular brands, but do not carry quality marks and there is poor English on the packaging

Toxic chemicals have been found in cheap dolls putting children exposed to them at risk of long-term fertility problems, officials warn.

The Sweet Fashion Doll and Girl Beautiful Doll - costing between £1 and £3 - have been supplied across the UK.

The Nottingham wholesaler is being investigated by city officials, who said it could not yet be named or the shops it supplied for Christmas.

The dolls contain high levels of phthalates, say trading standards.

The potentially harmful chemicals are used to toughen plastic in the Chinese-made dolls, said the council team.

Image copyright Nottingham City Council
Image caption The Chartered Trading Standards Institute warned that very young children and babies could chew the toys and "consume the chemicals"

Jane Bailey, the team's manager, said: "We understand the financial pressures people are under at the moment, but I'd urge parents to resist the temptation to buy cheap toys like these.

"They will carry none of the required quality marks and will likely have been subjected to no product testing at all."

The council could not tell the BBC how many had been sold, or where in the UK they were on sale.

'Remain vigilant'

Although such investigations are led by local authorities, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, a national body, said there was a rise of "substandard toys" being brought to the UK around Christmas and there had been "several seizures".

It warned customers to "remain vigilant".

Robert Chantry-Price, a lead officer for product safety, said: "It is frightening to think that large quantities of phthalates are still being used in children's toys.

"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 child-care products.

"If these toys fall into the hands of very young children or babies, it's more likely they will chew on the plastic and consume the chemicals."

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