100,000 harmful toys are seized from Bahrain market

Ministry recently tightened its regulations on toys by making it mandatory for a code to be stamped on products on sale in the local market

  
People walk past shops at a souq (market), about 1 km away from Pearl Square, the centre of protests, in the Bahraini capital of Manama February 20, 2011.

People walk past shops at a souq (market), about 1 km away from Pearl Square, the centre of protests, in the Bahraini capital of Manama February 20, 2011.

Reuters/Hamad I Mohammed

Nearly 100,000 toys harmful to children were seized from 20 shops across Bahrain last year, it has emerged.

Inspectors at the Industry, Commerce and Tourism Ministry also confiscated 97,067 harmful food toys.

Among other unsafe products seized by the ministry’s testing and metrology directorate were 6,243 toys in the form of cigarette lighters containing liquid candy from 40 shops in 2019, while 83 shops were inspected this year as part of a field survey on children’s makeup set during which 1,492 pieces were checked for safety compliance.

The details of the directorate’s campaigns and field surveys on children’s toys were revealed exclusively to the GDN.

The surveys were aimed at maintaining the safety and health standards of these items.

“The campaign initiatives complement existing efforts and are considered to be advanced steps in maintaining the safety and health standards of children’s toys,” a ministry spokesman told the GDN.

Chemicals

“Over the past years, many incidents have been reported where children were put at risk due to playing with toys that contained dangerous chemicals such as arsenic, antimony, lead, etc.

“Also, some toys are small enough to be swallowed or sharp enough to cause cuts.”

The ministry recently tightened its regulations on toys by making it mandatory for a code to be stamped on products on sale in the local market.

The directorate announced that merchants and importers must provide a GCC test-style inspection certificate for each model of toys, display the Gulf tracking code on the them (GCC Conformity Mark + QR Code) and submit a declaration of conformity.

“To strengthen the control on children’s toys and to make sure that children are using 100 per cent safe toys, the ministry in co-operation with the Gulf Standardisation Organisation (GSO) introduced the Gulf Conformity Tracking (GCT) Code which will basically allow the regulatory authorities as well as consumers to scan and view the certificate allocated to the specific toys,” explained the spokesman.

In 2018, the directorate conducted four campaigns, seizing 5,487 harmful luminous balloons from 92 shops, finding 11,055 inflatable water toys not conforming to specifications, seizing 2,531 toys containing slime products from 120 shops and confiscating 104 toys with loose batteries.

“Bahrain first approved regulations on children’s toys in 2010 and updated them in 2015, setting the stage for a GCT code,” said the spokesman.

He added that all the details were provided to the economic operators either through the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry or by the directorate contacting relevant economic operators.

“Our only aim is to ensure that all the toys in the local markets are safe and tested as per the requirements.

“The only way to guarantee that is the availability of physical evidence on the toy which is the GCT code.”

The GDN previously reported medics raising an alarm over a rise in cases of children swallowing button-sized batteries and toy parts.

In February, a three-year-girl was rushed to hospital after swallowing a battery. In the same month, foreign objects were removed from the lungs of two children through endoscopy operations. The first case was of a six-year-old girl who had inhaled a plastic piece of a toy, and the second was of an 18-month-old who inhaled nuts while eating them. In September (2020), doctors extracted more than 50 magnets from a three-year-old girl’s stomach, and two magnets from a 10-month-old’s body.

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