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Costumes for children analysed

News 3/14/2014

The Swedish Chemicals Agency has analysed costumes for children. The analysis concerned azo dyes in fabrics, cadmium, lead and phthalates in plastics.

Two garments had excessive amounts of prohibited azo dyes, five plastic packages made of PVC contained excessive levels of cadmium and eight plastic details (masks or other accessories) contained excessive levels of phthalates that are not permitted in toys, mainly DEHP. In one of the plastic details (leatherette) the migration limit for cadmium was exceeded, i.e. that part of the suit emitted too much cadmium to the air.

Overall, 14 out of 84 products did not meet the regulations. The products have been stopped from sales and infringements have been notified to the environmental prosecutor. The articles were purchased from 22 suppliers, both in stores and from the internet.


Azo dyes can be found in textiles dye. Some azo dyes can degrade into carcinogenic amines acrylic and are therefore banned in the EU. Some are also allergenic.

Phthalates are used as softeners in plastics. The phthalates DEHP, DBP and BBP could affect the balance of certain hormones in the body and impair fertility. DEHP, DBP and BBP are prohibited in toys or childcare articles. The phthalates DINP, DIDP and DNOP are prohibited in toys or childcare articles that can be placed in the mouth. DIBP is included in the candidate list.

Cadmium can be found in plastic. Cadmium is a carcinogen and is toxic to the aquatic environment. It stays in the body for a long time, if the levels are high it may cause reduced kidney function and lead to osteoporosis. There are rules for the content of  cadmium allowed in toys, plastic and jewellery.

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