HC Deb 29 October 1957 vol 575 cc24-5
44. Mr. Janner

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware of complaints from New York Toy Guidance Council that some Japanese metal toys are coated with potentially poisonous lead paint; how far such toys are being imported into this country; and what action is being taken to examine them.

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

The latest American reports are to the effect that there is no evidence that painted toys are responsible for lead poisoning in children. Imports of Japanese toys into this country last year were less than half of 1 per cent. of total supplies, but separate figures for toys covered with paint containing lead are not available. In the circumstances, no action seems to be called for on my right hon. Friend's part.

Mr. Janner

Is the Minister aware that there is deep concern in the United States about these toys, which are cheap and dangerous to children, and that this body which investigated the matter is a responsible body? Will he see that precautions are taken in this country to prevent that type of toy from being brought into the country?

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

I have given the facts about the quantity of toys which might involve such poisoning. The first part of my Answer is based on statements in the Press which relate to the opinion of the United States public health service.

Dr. Summerskill

Would the Minister clarify the matter by telling us the incidence of lead poisoning among children?

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

The number of deaths in the United Kingdom of children under five years old ascribed to lead poisoning in the two-and-a-half years to 30th June, 1957, was four, and none of these was attributable to sucking toys.