§ 2.37 p.m.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are aware that following the considerable success during the past four years of Regulations (under the Rag Flock Act) as to the cleanliness of stuffing of toys, certain makers of foreign imports now use other fillings; whether Her Majesty's Government are aware that these fillings, even if clean, are potentially dangerous; and whether they will consider making regulations as to this new menace to the lives of children and thus aid the efforts of the Retail Trading Standards Association.]
§ THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRE-TARY, MINISTRY OF HOUSING AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT (LORD KENNET)
My Lords, my right honourable friends the Minister of Housing and Local Government and the Secretary of State for Scotland intend to make new regulations under the Rag Flock and Other Filling Materials Act which will, among other things, bring more filling materials within the scope of the Act. The Act is, of course, concerned only with the cleanliness of fillings. My right honourable friend the Home Secretary, who deals with the question of the safety of articles offered for sale, is not aware of any filling material currently used for stuffing toys which presents a safety hazard.
§ LORD CROOK
My Lords, while thanking the noble Lord for his Answer, may I enlighten him on the things I saw—
§ LORD CROOK
My Lords, is the noble Lord aware that some of the fillings—in fact, fine foam crumbs and urea formaldehyde—appear to children temptingly like sugar? It is true that these are found in imported goods, but may I ask my noble friend whether it is possible to take steps to stop such importation?
§ LORD KENNET
My Lords, there has been only one batch, I think of teddy bears, containing Polish urea formaldehyde. This was some years ago, and on unofficial representations the factory ceased using that particular filling. As regards foam, plastic or rubber crumbs, my right honourable friend the Home Secretary is not aware that they constitute any hazard, either respiratory or intestinal.