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22 Oct, 2007 01:39

Russia joins toxic toys battle

Just this year the world's largest toymaker, Mattel, recalled millions of Chinese-made toys over safety fears. And while Russian authorities are tightening inspections, some parents just don't realize how difficult it can be to tell the good toys from the

“Last year we found more than half the toys checked had faults. This year that number is about 20 per cent and still that is catastrophically too large. We can not allow this for our children and we are paying serious attention to this problem,” Gennady Onishenko, Russia’s Surgeon General, commented.

Recent recalls were prompted mostly by excessive levels of lead and other toxic ingredients.

At the Consumer Protection Society toys are dissected, melted down and checked for dangerous chemicals, but only after a defect has been reported.

“We look for heavy metals, hazardous chemicals, paint and vapors. Then, according to the results, we will suggest a recall,” Dr Elena Ushakova from Consumers Protection Society explained. 

That means the chance of catching a possibly deadly toy, before it is sold at least once, is unlikely.

So the great responsibility lies on the parents. But most of them have no idea of where or how to check a toy for safety, as they usually forget to look at the special barcode which indicates that the toy was approved for use. Sometimes this may lead to tragic consequences.