|Author (Person)||Chapman, Peter|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol.7, No.40, 1.11.01, p5|
MEPS are demanding tougher safety controls on small toys in breakfast cereal packs and chocolate eggs which can cause death or injury to children who choke on them.
British socialist MEP Philip Whitehead says the EU has ignored requests for action to force companies to meet more stringent requirements, despite research which found that at least seven children are killed and many more injured every year after swallowing such toys.
Researchers at Athens University said the worst culprit were toys in chocolate eggs, while 'give-aways' in cereals, snacks, ice cream and yoghurts had caused death and injury.
Whitehead, backed by Greek socialist Minerva Malliori and consumer standards body ANEC, said the EU had instead pushed for a temporary ban on chemicals found in plastic teething toys - though there is no evidence thus far of deaths caused by their ingestion.
There is an EU ban on phthalates in toys until 21 November, pending further evidence of the dangers of the substances used as softening agents in teething rings and other products. This followed fears that they can cause liver, kidney and testicular damage. "We know that a number of children have died [with toys contained in food products] - but it is hard to show that anyone has died as a result of phthalates," said Whitehead. "Parent groups have been to Brussels to talk to officials, but as so often happens with these things, someone saying that they lost a son or daughter five years ago cuts no ice. If you said it happened five months ago people would run in with an urge to ban," he added.
Whitehead wants the 'inedibles' covered by safety standards in the EU's toys directive. He also wants the Commission to launch a study to highlight the problem.
MEPs are demanding tougher safety controls on small toys in breakfast cereal packs and chocolate eggs which can cause death or injury to children who choke on them.
|Subject Categories||Business and Industry|