Horsham business fined for selling dangerous children’s loom bands

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A Horsham trader has been fined for selling children’s jewellery which had high levels of a dangerous chemical, according to West Sussex County Council (WSCC).

Mr Rinku Juneja, owner of Horsham Mobile Phone Repair Centre, in West Street, pleaded guilty to breaching the REACH Enforcement Regulations 2008 at Worthing Magistrates’ Court on Friday (August 14) and received a 12 month conditional discharge.

WSCC said he was ordered to pay £746.50 costs and a £15 victim surcharge and forfeiture of the unsafe loom bands - a popular type of plastic jewellery - was also ordered.

One of Mr Juneja’s staff had purchased the stock from a cold caller to his business, said WSCC.

The store was found to be selling loom bands and charms with higher than permitted levels of phthalates - a chemical substance that makes plastic softer.

These chemicals are only permitted in very small amounts however, in higher concentrations, studies have shown links to fertility problems and cancer.

The case has prompted West Sussex Trading Standards Officers to issue a warning this week to businesses to be on their guard when it comes to buying stock from unknown sources.

It was during a routine toy safety check on the Mobile Phone and Repair Centre that Trading Standards Officers made a test purchase of loom bands and charms from the business.

Children in particular are uniquely vulnerable to phthalate exposures given their hand-to-mouth behaviours and developing nervous and reproductive systems, WSCC said.

Peter Aston, Trading Standards Team Manager, said: “Where traders purchase their stock from untraceable sources they have no way of checking if the products they are selling comply with the strict safety laws that protect our children. They will also be responsible for any products that are deemed to be unsafe if they cannot provide records of the products they are stocking.”

Trading Standards officers returned to the shop and seized the remaining unsafe stock.

David Barling, West Sussex County Council’s cabinet member for residents’ services with responsibility for trading standards, said: “I hope this case sends a clear message that we will take immediate action to prevent unsafe toys being sold and to protect children from the long term affects these chemicals could have.”

If you think you might have bought any unsafe children’s toys, please let trading standards know by calling 03454 040506 or report online at www.westsussex.gov.uk/tsreport

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