Korea - The majority of stationary and other items used by children circulated in the local market tested by the National Institute of Environmental Research contain high traces of heavy metals.
According to the NIER data submitted to Rep. Hong Young-pyo of the Democratic United Party, 123 of the 124 items tested last year contained heavy metals that can be transferred to the body including lead, nickel and cadmium.
In addition to the heavy metals, 14 items were shown to contain above-regulation levels of phthalates. In the case of a Chinese company's shoes for infants, a phthalate level nearly 350 times higher than allowed was detected.
Phthalates are environmental hormones that can cause premature development of secondary sexual traits in young girls.