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Written on 14th December 2015

Boyes Turner recently ran a shocking report revealing that children’s crayons containing asbestos were being imported from China for sale in the UK.

The story, which received widespread attention, resulted in the crayons being removed from sale in the UK, a sigh of relief being had by all concerned parents. A recent report however has now revealed that other asbestos containing products are still readily available for sale in the UK, many of which are children’s toys.

The dangers of asbestos

Asbestos can cause a number of diseases to be suffered such as pleural thickeningasbestosismesothelioma and asbestos induced lung cancer, the latter two of which are fatal conditions.

Of importance is the fact that some asbestos diseases such as mesothelioma take very little exposure, with just one breath of asbestos being thought to be sufficient to cause the deadly disease.

The report findings

The report revealed that China was still importing asbestos containing children’s toys into the UK, which were then being sold through eBay and Amazon.

One of the toys was a child’s forensic laboratory set which allowed children to solve crimes. A key part of the set was a finger printing kit which contained dust and brushes so finger printing could be taken by the child as part of the crime solving process. The dust was analysed by scientists in a real laboratory and found to be asbestos dust.

Other toys were also sampled within the report and also found to contain asbestos.

The report was submitted to the Trading Standards Office and as a result, all of the toys were removed from sale on eBay, though they currently still remain available on Amazon.

My advice

I was personally shocked that toys such as this were being sold for children to play with, I was however pleased to see that Trading Standards and eBay took quick action to remedy the situation once they were aware of it. I am less impressed that the products are still available on a reputable website such as Amazon.

My advice is simple, if you are buying imported toys as gifts during this busy festive period, read any instructions or warnings on the toys to check that they contain no harmful parts. Health and safety laws in other countries, especially those outside of the EU, vary greatly to those in the UK and you should not automatically assume your purchase is safe, simply because it was bought within the UK or from a reputable website.

Should you have any concerns with a gift you have bought, contact the seller to raise your concerns. If your seller will not assist you it may be worth contacting Trading Standards for assistance.