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Safety standard for toys to be tightened
By Di Fang (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-05-31 09:04

Strict market access and a classification system will be introduced to Beijing's toy market in an attempt to keep unsafe and potentially life-threatening products out of the hands of children.

The industry and commerce authority, the market watchdog, started experimenting with the system over the weekend at Hongqiao's Tianle Market, Beijing's biggest toy market.

It is expected that the new requirements will be promoted in all of the city's toy markets before October 1, when a national compulsory safety requirement for toys will be adopted, the Beijing Youth Daily has reported.

"We will record informa-tion about all of the toys available at the Tianle Market, especially the toys for children below 3 years of age," said Bao Wenjun, director of the Hongqiao Industry and Commerce Office in Beijing's Chongwen District.

Bao is responsible for looking into the Tianle Market. "Some toys used when getting kids to sleep, plastic jigsaw puzzles and painted toy bricks, which are not suitable for babies, topped the agenda for supervision," he said.

Bao said it would be forbidden to sell such toys.

"Toy safety is no less important than food safety when it comes to children," Bao said.

Under the National Technical Safety Requirements for Toys, which will come into effect in October, toys will be classified according to their suitability for children of different ages. Warning notices will be attached to the toys.

Special safety requirements for small components will be added for toys being used by children below 3 years of age, who naturally put items in their mouth. Small components could suffocate them.

A parental supervision notice will also be required for model vehicles or rockets which are powered by batteries, sources said.

Meanwhile, all materials used to make toys will have to pass inspections. The existing regulation only requires heavy metal content inspections.

Toys will be forbidden if any material, including metal, paint, wood and plastic, fails to meet national standards.

According to an examination conducted by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine in March, 25 per cent of the 139 different categories of toys were not up to scratch.

Among them, the small compo-nents belonging to 11 products easily detach.

Most of the toys did not have information regarding use, age groups and safety warnings, the results showed. And the plastic bags of three products were found to be dangerous.

The figures from inspections conducted by local authorities were worse.

A recent inspection found almost half of the toys sold in Xi'an, provincial capital of Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, were not up to national standards.

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