EXCLUSIVE: ‘Poisonous’ dolls unknowingly sold to customers in Barking Market

Market trader Rashid Suleman unwittingly sells one of the dangerous dolls - which can be seen hangin

Market trader Rashid Suleman unwittingly sells one of the dangerous dolls - which can be seen hanging from his stall - to Post reporter Anna Dubuis. The shocked dad had no idea the toys were dangerous and immediately took them down. Pic: Steve Poston. - Credit: Archant

Banned dolls containing a poisonous chemical that can cause cancer have been unwittingly sold to families in Barking Market.

The boxed up dolls awaiting removal. Pic: Steve Poston.

The boxed up dolls awaiting removal. Pic: Steve Poston. - Credit: Archant

A government warning was issued over the “fruit head dolls” a year ago after tests on the toys revealed traces of DEHP, a dangerous substance used to make some plastics, which can also cause deformities in unborn babies and male infertility. This led to a Europe-wide product recall in May 2012.

But the Post found two traders at Barking Market selling the toys and bought one for £8.

One stall had nine of the large plastic dolls hanging up, while the other had four on display.

We spoke with the traders who both said they had not known anything about the health risks posed by the dolls.

Trader Rashid Suleman said: “I buy from a wholesalers. In December I bought about three or four boxes of the dolls. I didn’t know there was any problem with them. If the council had said something I would have taken them down. I will now take them down of course – I have kids myself.”

Ahmed Habib was equally as shocked, saying: “I bought a box of 24 at Christmas time. I’ve never heard there was a recall. I’ve got maybe eight left and we have sold the rest. I will take them down today.”

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Between them they bought four or five boxes each containing 24 dolls, but have less than 20 left between them. That means around 80 to 100 dolls could have been sold to customers.

Both traders removed the dolls from their stalls last Thursday after the Post told them about the recall.

A customer, who wished to remain anonymous, bought one of the dolls as a present for her two-year-old niece.

“I am appalled and shocked,” she said. “We are all very worried about the dangers of this. I feel terrible about it. It is very worrying as a lot of other people in Barking may have also bought them and not known about the dangers.”

A Barking and Dagenham Council spokesman said trading standards officers are looking into the matter following the Post’s investigation.

“Officers carry out proactive visits to traders at the market and inform them of all product recalls,” he added.

A spokesman for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, said the dolls have been made by “a lot of unknown manufacturers” and it is unclear whether all toys contain the poisonous chemical or whether it is confined to certain batches or companies.

n If you have bought a fruit head doll, contact the council’s trading standards department on 020 8215 3007.