Hong Kong Finds Chinese-Made Toy Makeup Sets Contain Toxic Chemicals

Wednesday, December 5th 2007, 9:08 am
By: News On 6

HONG KONG (AP) _ Two Chinese-made toy makeup sets seized in Hong Kong contained high levels of lead, chromium and barium, the local government said Wednesday.

Laboratory tests found the face and body paints, seized from a retailer in late October, contained excessive amounts of the toxic materials, Hong Kong's Custom and Excise Department said.

``The toys have been examined and found to have a high risk of poisoning children,'' it said in a statement.

The packages of multicolored crayons and mini paint pots showed they were made in China and were distributed by a Hong Kong company, Six Colors Group (H.K.) Ltd.

The customs department ordered the company to recall the color paint toys and warned parents against allowing their children to use them.

Calls made to Six Colors Group went unanswered late Wednesday.

It was not immediately clear where the toys were sold.

Chromium compounds were once used heavily in dyes and paints and can be found in the ground water and soil around abandoned industrial sites. Barium is highly poisonous and can cause tremors or paralysis if ingested in high enough doses. Lead poisoning can cause irreversible learning disabilities and behavioral problems and, at very high levels, seizures, coma, and even death

The latest finding by customs came amid a spate of recalls of China-made toys over the past few months.

Last month, China-made toy beads _ known as Bindeez in Australia and Aqua Dots in the United States _ were found to contain a chemical that can convert into a powerful ``date-rape drug'' when ingested. At least nine children in the U.S. and three in Australia became sick after swallowing the beads.

Mattel Inc. also recalled more than 21 million Chinese-made toys over fears they were tainted with lead paint and included tiny magnets that children could accidentally swallow.

Under Hong Kong's Toys and Children's Products Safety Ordinance, suppliers of toys that fail to meet safety standards face jail terms of one year and fines of $12,830.