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Ban on unsafe water colour paint sets

Hon Judith Tizard
Minister of Consumer Affairs

3 April 2008 Media Statement

Ban on unsafe water colour paint sets

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An Unsafe Goods Notice has today been issued against a set of water colour paints, due to unsafe lead and chromium levels, Consumer Affairs Minister Judith Tizard said today. The Notice officially bans the paint set, marketed under the Tian Mao Panda brand, from New Zealand retail shelves.

As part of the its ongoing work in the area of product safety the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, with the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) and the Ministry of Health, tested a random sample of children’s graphic materials such as crayons, felt tips pens and water colour paints for toxic elements such as lead and chromium.

“One brand tested positive for high levels of lead and chromium. These water colour paints are being sold under the Tian Mao Panda brand,” said Consumer Affairs Minister Judith Tizard.

While there have been no reports to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs of the paints causing any harm, the high levels of lead are of great concern and a ban has been put in place.

The Unsafe Goods Notice (Tian Mao Panda Water Colour Paint Sets) 2008 will ban the supply of this particular brand of water colour paints and painting sets. The ban is issued under section 31 of the Fair Trading Act. It is enforced by the New Zealand Customs Service at the border and the Commerce Commission in the marketplace.

"The Ministry of Consumer Affairs is working closely with ERMA and the Ministry of Health on this issue," said Judith Tizard.

Breaches of an unsafe goods notice attract penalties of up to $60,000 for an individual and up to $200,000 for a company. This ban will come into effect for 18 months from today, 3 April 2008.

I encourage parents and caregivers to dispose of any Tian Mao Panda water colour paint sets that they have by returning them to the retailers they purchased them from and to seek a refund.

If people decide not to return the paints please dispose of them responsibly. The advice from the Environmental Risk Management Authority is that they should be wrapped up securely in plastic and put into their domestic rubbish. I also encourage consumers to report to the Commerce Commission instances where they see retailers selling this product.

“If you are a retailer stocking this product you should immediately remove this product from sale and dispose of it in a responsible manner," Judith Tizard said.


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