UK investigators find loom band charms with high phthalate levels

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An investigation into sample batches of loom band charms imported into the United Kingdom from the Far East found they all contained higher-than-permitted levels of phthalates.

The Birmingham Assay Office, which tests the safety of a range of consumer products, analyzed 16 batches of the charms and found all had more than the legally-permitted maximum 0.1 percent level of phthalates by weight, and two contained 50 percent of the plasticizer.

The loom band craze, which started life in the United States, has seen children all over the world weave plastic bracelets, often hanging plastic charms from them afterwards.

Marion Wilson, sales and marketing director at the Birmingham Assay Office, said her organization had been sent the products by a client.

“It’s unusual to see such high levels [of phthalates]. In such cases we want to alert our trade customers to what is out there. In this case the products had not reached the market.”

Wilson said it was hard to say how many other such products with high levels of phthalates were already on or about to go on sale in the nation’s shops.

It was down to companies to send their products for testing, she added.

Client confidentiality prevented the assay office from revealing the brands of those charms covered by its research.