Toxic toys blacklisted over risk to children

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Indy Politics

Liberal Democrats voted yesterday to ban PVC toys that contain phthalate softener because the chemical poses a health risk to small children when they put them into their mouths.

Liberal Democrats voted yesterday to ban PVC toys that contain phthalate softener because the chemical poses a health risk to small children when they put them into their mouths.

The toys are already banned in several European Union countries and their action has the full backing of the European Parliament. According to research, children who put the toys into their mouth and chew them could suffer liver and kidney damage.

Tom Brake, the party's environment spokesman, said: "Liberal Democrats would place a permanent ban on the use of phthalate softeners in toys to remove all risk to children. Many other countries have taken decisive action to prevent the use of hazardous chemicals in children's toys. Britain has clearly missed the boat."

Earlier, delegates rejected calls by the party leadership to introduce tougher restrictions on genetically modified (GM) crops designed to reduce the risk of contamination. Delegates agreed there was growing public concern over the issue but insisted that any further limits to GM trials were likely to be in breach of European Union law.

They voted to refer back a motion that would have banned GM food crops by introducing a "presumption against granting permission for the commercial planting of all GM food crops".

Under existing party policy, Liberal Democrats support a moratorium on the commercial growing of GM crops until 2003 but are in favour of trials to enable an "informed and scientific" debate on the issue.

Some party activists had hoped to strengthen the policy because of concern over the admission by the Environment minister Michael Meacher that it was inevitable non-GM and organic crops were at risk of being contaminated in areas where GM crops were grown.

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