Tests have been done on four brands of rubber band loom products sold in Singapore and they are found to be safe for consumers, according to national standards body Spring Singapore.
The concentration of phthalates in the four brands was found to be within the safety requirement of 0.1 per cent, said Spring Singapore. The chemical makes plastic more flexible and durable, but has been associated with an increased risk of cancer.
Earlier this month, Spring Singapore received feedback that the four brands might have excessive amounts of phthalates. The agency then sent samples of these products for testing in two laboratories accredited by the Singapore Accreditation Council.
Said Mr Steven Tan, group director for quality and standards at Spring Singapore: "As the safety authority for general consumer goods in Singapore, we take feedback on consumer product safety very seriously. We are glad that this was brought to our attention, as it allowed us to look into safety concerns about the product."
Mr Tan added that the agency will remain vigilant and continue to conduct market surveillance.
Spring Singapore has also been conducting tests on other rubber band loom products over the past few months but has not found them to contain excessive amounts of phthalates.
The colourful rubber band craft kits for creating bracelets and other accessories have been popular among children, since the brand Rainbow Loom was introduced here last November.
It led to several imitation rubber band loom products, with the number of knock-offs here at least doubling since July.
The original Rainbow Loom kit passes United States safety tests, but there have been reports overseas of children breaking out in rashes while wearing creations made with imitation products.
There have also been claims that some fake charm accessories contain high levels of phthalates.
Parents here are glad that the rubber band loom products sold in Singapore are up to standard.
Said Mrs Serene Wong, a property executive in her late 30s: "I am relieved to hear this good news. This gives me more room to explore buying loom products locally, though I will still buy them from department stores and not the imitation ones."
Mrs Wong has been buying the original Rainbow Loom products online for her two daughters, aged eight and 10.
HousewifeStephanie Soh, who is in her 40s and has a 10-year-old daughter, said: "I stopped my daughter from playing with rubber band loom products when concerns were raised about their safety. But I trust the way the products were tested by Spring Singapore, so I will probably allow her to continue playing with them now."
This article was first published on Sept 27, 2014.
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