Cancer causing chemicals in joke toys


High levels of potentially cancer causing chemicals have been found in imitation cigarette practical joke toys in Northants.

A survey of the toys carried out by Northants County Council’s trading standards service found over 10 per cent of the items sampled contained excessive amounts of restricted chemicals called phthalates.

Phthalates are toxic substances that may be associated with causing cancer, deformities in unborn babies and infertility in men. They can be found in soft PVC which is commonly used in the manufacturing of toys.

In the worst instance, one of the toys was found to have over 20g per 100g of one of the restricted phthalates, 200 times the permitted legal maximum.

The toys were purchased from high street shops within the county and were submitted to a public analyst for testing. They have been withdrawn from sale by the supplier.

Councillor for public protection, strategic infrastructure and economic growth Andre Gonzalez de Savage said: “Although these practical joke toys are not aimed at children, it’s more than likely that children will pick them up and play with them.

“The levels of chemicals in the items tested were worryingly high, in one case 200 times the permitted legal maximum. I’m pleased trading standards were able to take this action and ensure they have been removed from sale. If anyone has purchased these toys they should throw them away.”