China says recalled toys safe for children

Updated: 2007-09-13 03:06

BEIJING -- Chinese product safety authorities said Wednesday the latest lab tests in China have shown that toys recalled by Mattel Inc. for a third time are up to the Chinese and European standards and are safe for children around the world.

The problem was that the United States imposes a different measurement of lead content from other countries, the General Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (GAQSIQ) said in a report.

The GAQSIQ said that China and most other countries determine the safety of toy based on the lead release, or the amount of lead dissolvable out of toy paint, which may be harmful to human health.

China requires the lead release should be kept under 90 mg per kilogram, which is in line with the international standard (ISO8124-3) and the European standard (EN 71-3). But the United States adds an extra standard to limit the lead content to 600 mg per kilogram, the administration said.

On September 4, the world's largest toy maker Mattel recalled 848,000 Chinese-made toys, after having recalling toys twice, 85 percent of which are due to design and 15 percent for quality concerns.

The third recalls of China-made toys by Mattel concerned 675,000 Barbie toys from a toy maker in Shenzhen in the southern province of Guangdong.

Four types of the total seven types of Barbie it produces are up to scratch in terms of lead contents under the U.S. standards, according to the GAQSIQ's preliminary investigation.

Another 90,000 Fisher Price toys from another Guangdong-based manufacturer were checked by sampling by the GAQSIQ and are also up to American standards, it said.

The product quality watchdog, however, said it would make further investigations into the matter as different labs produced "quite different" results, with some claiming the recalled products were substandard.

As the world's No. 1 toy exporter, China sold 22 billion toys overseas last year, accounting for 60 percent of the world's total.

Difference in standards was a main reason why the country's exports to some countries were frequently alleged to be problematic in quality, said the watchdog.

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