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Metallic Marker Pens

Volume 80: debated on Wednesday 12 June 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if Her Majesty's Government will introduce regulations under the Consumer Protection Act 1978 to require that metallic marker pens that contain xylene/xylol are prominently marked "Totally Unsuitable for Children"; and if he will make a statement.

I do not propose to introduce regulations as I do not believe they are necessary. Importers have agreed to add suitable warning labels voluntarily.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many representations he has received in respect of hazards arising from metallic marker pens.

I have received nine complaints that these pens have caused adverse effects, mostly headaches. In addition I have received some 20 inquiries arising from the warning labels on some brands of metallic marker pens.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what discussions have been held with importers of metallic marker pens that contain xylene/ xylol over warnings that these pens can be dangerous and that the chemical is classified under the Packaging and Labelling of Dangerous Substances Regulations 1984; and if he will make a statement.(2) what discussions have been held with importers in Scotland of metallic marker pens that contain xylene/xylol over warnings that these pens can be dangerous and that the chemical is classified under the Packaging and Labelling of Dangerous Substances Regulations 1984; and if he will make a statement.(3) what discussions have been held with importers in Wales of metallic marker pens that contain xylene/xylol over warnings that these pens can be dangerous and that the chemical is classified under the Packaging and Labelling of Dangerous Substances Regulations 1984; and if he will make a statement.(4)what discussions have been held with importers in Northern Ireland of metallic marker pens that contain xylene/xylol over warnings that these pens can be dangerous and that the chemical is classified under the Packaging and Labelling of Dangerous Substances Regulations 1984; and if he will make a statement.

I have asked seven importers, all who are based in England, to add a warning, "Ensure adequate ventilation in places of use." They have all agreed to do so.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is the volume and value of metallic marker pens imported into the United Kingdom in each year since the enactment of the Consumer Protection Act 1978; what were the originating states; and if he will make a statement.

Complete figures are not available. However since 1980 four firms have imported at least 8 million pens between them, all from Japan, with a value of the order of £3 million.