A discount store company has been fined £16,500 for selling children’s toys containing toxins 70 times the legal safe level.
99p Stores in Loughborough was found to be selling a doll containing the high levels of phthalates and a plastic bow and arrow set containing 33 times the safe level of the toxin.
The illegal toys were discovered during a test purchase operation carried out by Leicestershire County Council Trading Standards.
The Leicester Mercury reports that the firm admitted four breaches of the European Union’s reach Enforcement Regulations 2008 at Leicester Magistrates’ Court.
Prosecutor Patrick Taaffe, said: "Phthalates are used top strengthen plastics and have been restricted because they are known to cause liver, kidney and testicular damage.
"They are completely restricted in toys for under threes."
After the test purchase in January 2013, trading standards asked the shop to send technical files on what the toys were made of.
Taaffe continued: "Some were produced but appeared to be falsified.
"It’s quite clear the public has been exposed to risk and the falsification of test results is an aggravating factor."
Alan Millband, representing 99p Stores Ltd, said the company did not know the test results – from the producer in the Far East – were faked.
Millband said: "These were not fabricated by, or at the request of, 99p Stores Ltd."
He went on to say that after the problem was discovered, the toys were withdrawn from shelves, though no recall was issued.
The company has now agreed to check which products it should test in the future with Northamptonshire Trading Standards.