“Chemicals in Imported Toys in Armenia: Health Risks and Market Surveillance”
A discussion entitled “Chemicals in Imported Toys in Armenia: Health Risks and Market Surveillance” was held at Media Center on November 22.

The speakers included Knarik Grigoryan, Researcher at “Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment” NGO, Arthur Mkrtchyan, Deputy Head of Market Surveillance Inspection Body of the RA Ministry of Economic Development and Investments, Hovsep Hovhannisyan, Head of Labor, Hygiene, Radiation and Chemical Safety Department at the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Armenia, and Stepan Grigoryan, Leading Researcher at the Scientific-Technological Center of Organic and Pharmaceutical Chemistry at NAS.

“Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment” NGO is interested in environmental and human health issues, as well as is engaged in the study of heavy metals and pesticides.  

“In 2012, we studied heavy metals and found 4 types of heavy metals in toys imported to Armenia. And this year we studied the presence of phthalates (chemicals) in plastic materials, whether they exist in imported toys or not. Five countries participated in the study, 16 toys were examined, of which 9 were Chinese, three were Russian, one Vietnamese and one Belarusian and two were of unknown origin. The phthalates are mainly used with polyvinyl chloride to give them flexibility, elasticity, and softness but phthalates have a harmful effect on organ systems,” Knarik Grigoryan said.  

She notes that phthalates can damage the liver, pancreas, affect the brain, and can also affect sexual development.

“In particular, it causes gland, uterus, ovarian cancer, leads to infertility, causing diabetes. In all the toys phthalates were found. If we compare with the standards of other countries where the phthalates are allowed to be 0.1 percent of the total mass, then we have about 19 percent, i.e. 190 times more than the norms,” Grigoryan highlighted.

Arthur Mkrtchyan mentioned that the sphere of toys is one of the most dangerous spheres, and therefore, the market surveillance body pays great attention to the sphere.

“In 2017, inspections were carried out at both manufacturing and importing organizations at 17 economic entities. 12 economic entities were found to have breaches in both certification and Armenian marking. From January to October 2016, the number of certification has increased by 24% in the course of 10 months of 2017, related to certification release and branding. Now the sphere is being regulated. I urge consumers to be careful, demand a certificate when buying a toy or it is better to buy a toy instead of 10 toys that can be more expensive but have better quality,” Mkrtchyan said.  

Chemist Stepan Grigoryan underlines that phthalate is a very dangerous material, they are accumulated in the body.

“Unfortunately, there are no specific absorbers yet to neutralize them. It is important to pay attention to the flock. Very fragrant toys disclose the high number of phthalates; it refers to balls, soft toys, cars, etc. Many bright toys are also dangerous, they can contain special dyes that can be tile, tin, which is even more dangerous for the body,” Grigoryan said.

Hovsep Hovhannisyan underlines that sanitary rules and norms approved by the order of the Minister of Health in Armenia are used to regulate these risks.

“The decision to ban the phthalatis will soon enter into the EAEU regulation. The use of phthalates in EAEU countries is forbidden, and we, the doctors, are for it,” Hovhannisyan said.

Lilit Arakelyan, editor/events coordinator at “Media Center”

To contact the author please send an email to lilitarakelyan@pjc.am.

To watch the video, follow the link.  


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