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December 22, 2010

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Buy good quality play-mats, parents told

LOCAL parents are being advised only to buy good quality foam play- mats for their babies and toddlers, after the product was linked to cancer-causing chemicals.

This comes after Belgium and France banned the brightly colored mats which are used by city kindergartens and families with little ones.

However, formamide chemicals - which are used to soften the foam in the mats - can lead to cancer. Belgium cited this as the reason for its ban this month.

After learning this, Wang Xuebin, a local grandmother of a four-month girl, said she would not buy play-mats for her granddaughter.

Instead, the family will let the baby play on natural fiber tatami mats.

Fan Kangnian, a chemistry professor of Fudan University, told Shanghai Daily yesterday that the use of formamide is unavoidable in the production of the mats.

But Fan said the health risk depended on the level of formamide. "If it's minimum, it will be OK."

Parents should choose high-quality play-mats because, the better the quality, the fewer harmful elements are released, said Fan.

The mats remain popular with parents. One online shop, based on, China's top online shopping website, has sold more than 4,400 of them in the past 30 days at 22 yuan (US$3.30) each.


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