By Rob Corder
Number of dangerous toys being withdrawn from European shelves has almost trebled in three years.
Half of all goods deemed to be potentially lethal by the European Commission, were manufactured in China, according to an EU report.
The most deadly category was toys, many of which were sold under brands such as Matel and Ladybird that are commonplace in the Middle East.
The 2006 period covered by the study was the first year in which incidence of potentially lethal toys outnumbered dangerous electrical goods on the list of hazardous products.
Stefano Soro, a European Commission consumer goods expert, revealed that a quarter of all product alerts in the EU were about toys, including toys found to have heavy metals such as lead in them.
For example, he disclosed, the commission discovered a lead bracelet that was on sale in Europe even after it had fatally poisoned a child in the US.
Soft toys were no less dangerous. One type of cuddly bear, discovered in Finland but probably on sale throughout Europe and the Middle East, was found to have fur that easily came off and could have caused choking in small children.
Half of the toys that fell into the dangerous product list could have caused choking or suffocation. 20 percent posed a danger of physical injury, and almost one in ten were made with toxix chemicals.
Overall, the number of products withdrawn from sale on safety grounds in the EU grew from 388 in 2004 to 924 last year.
The GCC has no official agency with overall control of consumer protection. However, in February this year, the UAE Ministry of Economy, established a Higher Committee of Consumer Protection.