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Erasers used by children contain harmful chemical, city watchdog says

One third of erasers checked by the city's quality watchdog contained excessive levels of plasticizers, including diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP), it said yesterday.

The Shanghai Quality and Technical Supervision Bureau checked 30 batches of erasers and found 10 batches produced by companies like the famous Shanghai M&G Chenguang Stationery Co Ltd contained plasticizers in concentrations above 1 gram per kilogram.

According to a standard for students' products being revised in China, it should be less than that figure. The standard has not been officially implemented, but the bureau has ordered these producers to improve techniques and strengthen control of raw materials.

It reminded students to wash their hands more often after using erasers.

These plasticizers can penetrate into the human body if breathed in or is in contact with the skin. They are harmful to health, particularly to children and pregnant women, officials said.

The bureau also found 14 batches of furniture for children out of 21 batches checked failed tests for structure safety, mechanical property and warning signs.

Some substandard products were produced by Shanghai companies such as the Shanghai Chaosong Furniture Co and Shanghai Zhongyang Furniture Co. They have been ordered to stop manufacturing and selling substandard chairs and refund or change already sold substandard chairs.

They can resume production only after passing rechecks, the bureau said.

Meanwhile, the Shanghai Industrial and Commercial Administrative Bureau said half of children's bicycles, baby walkers and go-carts failed tests out of 20 batches it checked recently. A batch of Emmelle children's bicycles made by Changzhou Fulihua Bicycle Co Ltd and sold by the Jiading outlet of Century Mart failed for a handlebar problem.


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