Loom band charms removed from sale over cancer fears
One of Britain's biggest independent toy retailers removes loom band charms over cancer chemical danger fears
Parents are being warned about the dangers of loom bands and the plastic trinkets sold with them after tests revealed some to be laced with cancer-causing chemicals Photo: Rachel Trump/BNPS
By Nicky Harley
5:04PM BST 29 Aug 2014
Loom band charms are being removed from sale across the country amid fears they contain dangerous levels of cancer causing chemicals.
Toy retailer The Entertainer has removed the loom band charms from its stores nationwide after they were found to contain high levels of banned chemical substance phthalate.
One charm tested contained 40% of banned phthalates, a chemical that makes plastic flexible, with EU law stating 0.1% is the legal limit.
The Birmingham Assay Office tested the charms and made the discovery.
The packets had foreign writing on them and the CE stamp indicating they were within European safety law.
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A Birmingham City Council spokesperson said: “Our Trading Standards officers will be carrying out their own sampling of retailers across the city and independent testing of loom band charms.
“We are aware of concerns about the safety of these charms, some of which have been found to contain high levels of phthalates, and we’re liaising with our colleagues in other local authorities.
“Public and product safety are key to everything Trading Standards do, so any complaints are investigated thoroughly and, where necessary, cases will be brought against the businesses or individuals concerned.”
The Entertainer, which has more than 80 stores mainly in the Midlands and the south, removed the charms from sale after it was given the test results.
The Birmingham Assay Office, which independently tests fashion and jewellery accessories, said it had found two banned phthalates, which can be dangerous if ingested over a long period of time.
Tests revealed the charms contained varying amounts of the banned phthalates, ranging from 1% to 40%.
In a statement, the chain told the BBC: "It was brought to our attention that loom charms purchased from one of our stores may contain phthalates.
"At The Entertainer, children's safety is our number one priority so as a precautionary measure we have removed all loom charms from sale with immediate effect whilst we conduct a full investigation.
"Any concerned customers will be offered a full refund or exchange in any of our stores."
A spokesperson for RMS International, which supplies the loom bands, said: "We have been importing loom bands into the UK for a number of months and more recently added the charms. Our Quality Control department maintains due diligence and holds all the required paperwork and test reports. When we became aware of other products in the market that may contain phthalates we suspended delivery and further shipments of any item containing a PVC charm. We also re-initiated testing of all relevant products. Since receiving the report we immediately liaised with The Entertainer and agreed to remove all charms from sale in all their stores.
"We would like to reassure the public that loom bands are entirely safe and this only involves a number of PVC loom charms. Any concerned consumers should return their product to the retailer from where they were purchased."
RMS International which supplies also sells to Tesco, Asda and Argos, however, these stores do not stock the PVC charms which are under investigation.
A spokesperson for Argos said: "We do not sell any of the PVC charms highlighted by this investigation. All RMS International-sourced loom band products that we sell are totally safe and legally compliant." ( I only put this on so responsible parents can make their own minds up about these toys )