Illustration: Loom bands
Illustration: Loom bands Photo by Dreamstime
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The U.K.'s largest independent toy retailer pulled from its stores charms that were attached to massively popular woven bracelets because the charms contained a carcinogenic chemical, weekend media reports in the U.K. say.

The Entertainer chain pulled the so-called loom-band charms from its 92 shops after the BBC Midlands Today program showed that the charms contained as much as 40 percent phthalates, the reports say.

Loom bands are made from different colored plastic bands woven together into bracelets.

Phthalates make plastics safer and more flexible, but because they can cause cancer, the European Union mandates that products contain no more than 0.1 percent of the chemical, the U.K. Independent reported.

The Entertainer said in a statement that "children's safety is our number one priority" and that it would immediately pull the charms from its stores while it investigates.

A spokesman for RMS International, which supplies the loom bands, told the U.K. Telegraph that the bands themselves are safe and that the effort involves only "a number of PVC loom charms."