Monday, November 29, 1999

Government to screen toys for toxic substances

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New Delhi, June 17 (PTI) To ascertain the toxicity of substances used for making toys, the government has decided to screen the level of metal coating used in them. Under the guidance of the India Council of Medical Research, three organisations -- National Institute of Occupational Health, Ahmedabad, National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences -- will detect level of toxicity in toys that can be injurious to health. The toys will be examined for presence of five metals including cadmium, chromium, arsenic, mercury and lead. "We are about to begin a study where we will try and find out toxicity level in toys available in the domestic market," Dr Y K Gupta, head of department (pharmacology) AIIMS, said. He said, "This exercise is the result of a Supreme Court order after some non-government organisations reported the presence of cadmium and lead in them." Gupta said the officials concerned were, in the past 12 months, able to standardise and validate all methods of estimation of heavy metals present in toys. "Now that the methods have been standardised and validated to get correct results, we expect this to be accomplished by the end of this year," he said. The doctor said the study will be conducted on sample toys collected from cities like Mumbai, Kolkata, and Hyderabad amongst others.

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