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Cheap toys warning for Yarmouth shoppers

PUBLISHED: 09:07 30 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:47 03 July 2010

Shoppers in Great Yarmouth were warned yesterday of the dangers of buying cheap foreign toys which could contain dangerous levels of lead and heavy metal.

Shoppers in Great Yarmouth were warned yesterday of the dangers of buying cheap foreign toys which could contain dangerous levels of lead and heavy metal.

Norfolk County Council trading standards officers were in the town's Market Gates Shopping Centre to highlight the fact that many toys made abroad, such as cars, dolls and build blocks, could poison children.

Some foreign manufacturers make toys with dangerous levels of lead and heavy metals such as mercury and arsenic.

Prolonged exposure to the materials could lead to severe sickness and even comas.

To point out the dangers, trading standards officers purchased several toys from Yarmouth shops and tested them with an X-ray Niton machine in front of curious shoppers to see if they were safe for children to play with.

Within seconds the Niton scanner reveals if toys contain illegal levels of lead and heavy metals including cadmium, barium and selenium or meet strict European safety standards.

The perils of buying dangerous toys were highlighted last year when fake Teletubby toys with high levels of lead and chromium were seized at Norwich and Snetterton markets.

And last October Chinese-made toy cars with 98 times the permitted level of lead were confiscated from a Yarmouth store.

Shopper Jane Walpole, 39 from Yarmouth, watched on yesterday as senior trading standards officer Tim Dodes tested a toy car and doll to see if they contained any hazardous substances.

She said: “I never really considered it before really. My eight-year-old son is always putting toys in his mouth.”

As well as the Yarmouth shopping centre event, trading standards officers will be visiting other towns and Norwich to check out toy safety over the Christmas period.

Ann Jackson, senior trading standards officer, said: “With the credit crunch likely to have an effect this Christmas, people may turn to other avenues than their usual retailer to purchase toys.

“Sometimes theses goods have been produced at a lower cost without meeting European safety standards.”

Yesterday's event also saw trading standards officers hand out information packs about avoiding scams and people's legal rights when buying goods.

For further information on trading standards advice over Christmas visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/tradingstandards or call 08454 040506.

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