Local Greenpeace raids Hong Kong's largest toy shop

Copyright 1998 Agence France Presse
October 28, 1998

A Hong Kong-branch of environmental watchdogs Greenpeace Wednesday raided the territory's largest toy shop demanding it withdraw toys made with toxic chemicals from sale.

Greenpeace China activists, calling themselves "toy exterminators," stormed into the shop in the tourist-belt of Tsim Tsa Shui in Kowloon, pulling plastic toys they considered toxic off the shelves.

They said the shops had been told earlier to recall the toxic toy products.

The placard-carrying activists then delivered the toys they gathered in carts to the store's managers demanding them to be recalled.

Ho Wai-chi, executive director of Greenpeace China, told reporters following the raid that "children should be given healthy toys instead of toxic ones."

The raid came after the group called on the Hong Kong government a week ago to ban the production and sale of toys for infants containing hazardous chemicals.

The call was made after the local Greenpeace found that 28 toy samples purchased from seven local retail outlets contained phthalate compounds, which are carcinogenic and hormone disruptive.

According to Greenpeace, the cancer-causing additives found in soft PVC toys can also cause damage to the liver and kidney and interfere with the reproductive system.

The use of phthalates in PVC toys has been banned in Austria, Denmark and Sweden, and toy giant Mattel reportedly announced last month that it would eliminate them in teething toys.

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