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Dangerous Barbie Dolls?

Shanghai quarantine authorities say they are on the lookout for dangerous Barbie dolls.


The comment comes in response to media reports in Germany that said the dolls contain the chemical phthalate, which has been linked to cancer.


A German magazine reported that 24 out of 30 toys it had checked at a laboratory were contaminated with the chemical, including the popular doll, raising concerns about its safety.


But the Shanghai Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau said their routine tests on imported toys don't cover phthalate, and there are no government standards covering the chemical in toys.


"This is not the time to take any action as the news hasn't been verified and the producer hasn't recalled its products," said bureau official Fang Yong.


Officials added that most toys China imports enter the country through borders in southern Guangdong Province, and only a few enter through Shanghai.


The company licensed to sell the dolls on the mainland, Guangzhou Shangwei Trade Co, said it is aware of the German reports, but wouldn't comment until it heard from Mattel, the US company that produces the dolls. Mattel is expected to make a public statement about the report today.


"In my personal opinion, it's irresponsible for the report not to clarify the batch number but only to point out Barbie in a general way," said an official surnamed Zheng with the company's local sales department.


Zheng said Barbie Dolls are mostly made in southern China and Indonesia.


(Shanghai Daily December 8, 2005)

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