Chinese wary of kids’ mats as chemical said to cause cancer

December 22nd, 2010 - 2:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Shanghai, Dec 22 (IANS) Parents in China are being extra careful while buying play mats for their children after some products in Europe were found to contain cancer-causing chemicals.Belgium and France have banned brightly-coloured foam mats used by kindergartens and families with toddlers, because a recent study said formamide chemicals - used to soften the foam - can lead to cancer, the Shanghai Daily reported Wednesday.

Wang Xuebin, a grandmother of a four-month girl, said she would not buy play mats for her granddaughter. Instead, the family will let the baby play on mats made of natural fibres.

Fan Kangnian, a chemistry professor at Fudan University, said the use of formamide is unavoidable in the production of the mats.

But the health risk depended on the level of the chemical. “If it’s minimum, it will be OK,” he said.

Parents should choose high-quality play mats, because better the quality, fewer harmful elements are released, Fan said.

The mats are very popular with Chinese parents.

China’s top online shopping website,, has sold more than 4,400 of them in the past 30 days at 22 yuan ($3.30) each.

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