29 July 2010
People are attracted to Chinese products because they are cheap
owner, Children’s Library and Activity Centre
It is a good idea to go back to eco–friendly wooden toys when the market is flooded with lowgrade toxic toys. There has to be a regulatory body to keep checks on toys marketed in India. The government must bring in standardisation in the manufacturing of these toys. They should meet the safety level meant for children’s toys.
Children not only play with toys but also put them in their mouth, which can be hazardous. The manufacturers must adhere to the safety standards, otherwise our children’s health will be in danger.
The markets in India are price–sensitive. People are attracted to products which are cheap. They buy toys which are substandard. They are unaware about the toxicity of the toys. The colour, the quality of plastic, rubber and chemicals used in manufacturing such toys may be toxic and harm the children. Such toys also pollute our environment when they are discarded.We should be aware of such things as consumers.
There should be a statutory warning along with the percentage of toxicity
principal, Sparkling Stars School
In our school,we try to use only Indian toys.We don’t buy Chinese toys because they do not last long and are made from substandard materials. All are aware of the harmful effects of such toys. Educational institutes should refrain from buying substandard toys just because they are cheap.
We do not need to buy toys made in China. India is self–sufficient and can produce its own toys. Chinese toys are flooding the market and that is the reason why they are being sold in huge numbers.
The media should play an active role in spreading awareness about the harmful effects of these toys and protect our children. The toys which are being used should be washed and stored in safe and clean places. People should make sure the toys they buy are not harmful to their child. The government should also put a statutory warning on toys and give details about the materials used and the percentage of toxicity involved.
Govt should ban toys which don’t carry the product’s details
secretary, Akhil Bharatiya Grahak Panchayat, Pune
We received a complaint recently at our consumer forum from a parent that a toy they bought was losing its colour thereby harming their child.
We took the matter up with the shopkeeper and he told us that his job is only to receive stock and sell the product. The toy causing harm was not his fault.
In India, we do not have a regulatory body to check the manufacturing and marketing of toys. Due to an open market, China has flooded our shops with its products. These toys are not brought through proper channels. Chinese toys have a better finish and are cheaper compared to the Indian ones. We have no mechanism to check their toxicity or standard. The chemicals and colours used in these toys are dangerous.
As Chinese toys are cost–effective, Indian manufacturers are suffering. They are trying to produce cheaper toys to compete with the Chinese ones.The government must ban toys which do not carry name of the manufacturer, the date of manufacturing and other details on the product.
Only the government can do something about the toys. Consumers need to be made aware about the toxicity in toys through various means.
The low price of the toys is the reason for their popularity
founder and national president, Arogya Sena (NGO)
It is shameful that Chinese goods find their way into the Indian market without any checks. This implies that the goods produced in India are not good and the government is repeatedly failing to curtail the illegal import of Chinese goods.
Chinese goods are cheap and pleasing to the eye.The children find them attractive and want them immediately. Their low price contributes to their popularity. I am concerned about these goods because they are harming our children.The colours used are of low quality and toxic in nature. They also contain lead,which can cause many health problems.
The Chinese government is not concerned about them. It is only bothered about its own economy. It is the duty of the Indian government to do something and safeguard its children.This is a national problem and needs to be tackled by the central government proactively.
- The Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi,conducted a study in January, 2010 on the presence of phthalates in randomly purchased toys. Phthalates are organic chemicals, odourless and colourless liquids produced from photochemicals. They are used for making plastic soft and flexible. The study found that phthalates can cause the following health hazards:
- Exposure to phthalates can damage the reproductive system – premature breast development in females and poor semen quality in men have been linked with phthalates
- Phthalates can trigger asthma and allergies and impair lungs
- Linked with pre–term birth in humans
- Studies on mammals have also linked some phthalates with increased skeletal retardation and malformations
- Children under three years are more likely to be exposed to phthalates because they tend to chew and suck on plastic toys and since their metabolic, endocrine and reproductive systems are immature, they are more vulnerable.
Schools can educate parents about the quality of toys they buy for their kids
founder director, Kiderbrook School
The onus of creating awareness of such a problem lies with the government. They should be the ones taking the initiative in this matter.Toys should have symbols and labels giving details about the toxicity and materials used in their manufacturing. They should also mention what age groups the toys are suitable for.
Major cities should have labs to test toys sold in the markets. The ones that fail the test should be rejected and banned. This should be done to maintain quality and protect children. It will also ensure that the norms set to pass quality tests are followed.
Schools can be notified about these quality norms so that they will be able to follow them while buying toys and disbursing them to children. Schools can serve the purpose of notifying and educating parents about these quality standards and also about the dangers of buying cheap and toxic toys.
I have not come across any patient who has been affected by toxic toys
I have no clue about the validity of toxicity in toys and they being hazardous to children’s health. I hear about it in the news often. I do not know what chemicals are used to ripen fruits and vegetables.
I can’t comment on it unless I get proved scientific reports from an authority. Doctors’ fraternity can talk only if we are provided with scientific reports. One has to know which chemicals are used and what are its reactions once it gets into the body. Till now, I have not come across any patient with a complaint that a toy has affected his health.We cannot react to conclusions, we need hard facts.
Manufacturers have done a disservice to society by producing such toys
director, Smartkids (educational toys manufacturer)
The toy industry is concerned about the issue of substandard toys or toys containing hazardous substances. Manufacturers have done a disservice to society by producing such toxic toys at cheap rates.Parents should be aware of the quality of toys they buy.
They should not decide to buy a toy on the basis of its price. They should look for quality certifications mentioned on the pack such as EN 71 and ASTM. They should buy products of reputed companies that practice ethical and quality manufacturing processes.
Parents should be particularly careful of cheap toys made of plastic or any material which leaves traces of hazardous dyes, chemicals or lead. If parents show alertness and awareness while buying toys, the market for cheap, toxic and substandard toys will automatically shrink. Consumers have the choice to boycott toxic toys and restrict their production.
Govt should check if Indian companies are producing such toys
director, Orchid School, Baner
We should first check toys manufactured in India and then point fingers at others. Before criticising,we should see if there is any credibility in the findings. If Indian companies are also producing such toxic toys, there is no use of blaming the Chinese companies. Indian products are not an epitome of quality.
We have been poisoning our air and waters for long. Hence, this new development is not affecting us. The government should ban toxic toys immediately and make a statement that we care about our children. Cheap toys should not be produced to compete with each other in the toy market. The government must ensure that Indian companies are not producing the same kind of products.
People should buy branded toys to protect their children
director, Asha Kiran Shelter Foundation
People don’t give much thought to toys as they are items to be played with. They are products that keep children occupied. People get duped into buying these toys because they are cheap.
The toys that children get for free with the meals in McDonald’s are also of the same quality like the Chinese ones.
People should not get attracted to such toys for substandard material is used to manufacture them. The material is toxic in nature and harms children. It can lead to many health problems which may show up only later in life.
People should buy quality toys. They should go for branded toys from trustworthy companies like Fisher Price. This will safeguard their children.
The government has declared a warning about the hazards posed by these toxic toys and has even released a press note to the media to warn people about it. The government needs to take a progressive step and should ban the products completely from the market.
Science has shown that toxics are used to make hard and soft toys
Dr Vijay Warad, MD (paediatrician)
If children chew toxic toys, they will be harmed. It has been scientifically proven that toxic elements are used in making soft and hard toys.
Foreign counties have strict rules regarding manufacturing and marketing of toys. India has no such regulatory mechanism.
Many parents come with children suffering from various allergies, repeated vomiting, gastroenteritis and various other ailments. When we conduct pathological tests, it does not show any abnormalities.We can diagnose the real problem only when we get a detailed history of the patient.
Each child is precious and the government must think seriously about the problem and set up a system to keep checks on the production of toys.