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Cover Story

Lethal Games

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Jan 31, 2010 | From the print edition

CSE LAB STUDY: TOXIC TOYS


Worse, and almost predictable now, the Indian government does not regulate or monitor the use of these inimical chemicals, putting children at risk.

 
While phthalates are nowhere on the radar of Indian authorities, they have made a few botched attempts to regulate other safety aspects of toys like mechanical and chemical properties and presence of certain heavy metals. Domestically, these standards remain voluntary. But since January last year, the authorities, mostly under pressure from a vigilant judiciary, have tried to regulate the quality of toys being imported. First they banned the import of toys from China, one country notorious for the poor quality of its toys.
   

Then they issued notification asking for all Chinese imports to conform to Indian standards and then broadened this notification to cover imports from all countries.

But the government is on a sticky wicket here. While making it mandatory for imports to conform to standards, it does not ask of its own industry to meet the same. This is clearly a non-tariff barrier to trade, and officials know it. They have been fortunate no one has complained till now.

imageThe regulation on imports expires on January 23. The government has two options. Either regulate all toys, both domestic production and imports. Second, and the easier option, let the order expire and leave the entire market unregulated. As things stand now, the government does not want to make the effort to make standards mandatory for all.


 

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