PARENTS are being warned not to buy copycat loom band charms in the run up to Christmas.
THE popularity of one of the big children’s must-haves of the summer – loom bands – shows no sign of abating as Christmas approaches.
The brightly coloured packets have had youngsters of all ages busy weaving them into bracelets but Trading Standards officers in South Lanarkshire are putting parents on alert – after tests on cheap imports revealed some plastic charms contained dangerously high levels of ‘phthalates’, a known carcinogen.
A report, compiled by the independent Assay Laboratory in Birmingham was commissioned by a toy retailer who wanted to ensure that the loom bands product he was selling was safe.
The legal limit for phthalates is 0.1%. However the lab’s tests on 16 packets of the charms from ‘’unofficial’’ box sets found they contained more than the accepted level – with two having more than 50%.
The original Rainbow Loom Bands have confirmed that their product complies with US safety standards but cheap ‘copycat’ bands manufactured in the Far East carry no EC safety mark.
And it is this benchmark standard that officers are urging parents to seek out when shopping this Christmas.
Explained Councillor Hamish Stewart, South Lanarkshire’s Chair of Community Services: “The chemical is used to make plastics more pliable but its use is strictly controlled, particularly in toys that could go in the mouth.
“The worrying thing is the charms are the bits that are most likely to end up in children’s mouths.
“We would urge parents to be vigilant about loom bands and only to buy genuine products from a respected retailer.
“Also look for a UK distributor’s address on the packaging as well as a CE mark.”