Illegal toy factories in central Hebei province use harmful cotton waste to fill stuffed animals which have been distributed around the country, state media reported. Potentially hazardous stuffed toys, filled with unsterilised industrial materials - mainly cotton left over from rug-making - were found in toy markets in Beijing and Shenzhen, CCTV reported on Saturday. Paper shreds, sand and plastic bags - including containers for instant noodles - were also found in the stuffed animals manufactured in unqualified toy workshops in Rongcheng county and Baigou , Hebei, it said. Children who came in close contact with these 'poisonous toys' were likely to develop a rash, diarrhoea and pneumonia, CCTV quoted medical experts from Peking University No 3 Hospital as saying. Cotton waste was bought at a bargain price of 2.6 yuan per kilo and in large amounts - thousands of kilograms per month - from textile factories in the nearby Gaoyang county, according to CCTV, whose reporters had tracked down the origin of the hazardous toys. 'It's unbelievable; people are fighting to buy this junk,' said an unnamed worker at a textile plant, adding they had orders for several months ahead. Besides the toxic fillings, the body parts such as noses and eyes were fixed only with glue and came off easily, the report said. More than 400 cases of children choking on stuffed animal parts were reported every year on the mainland, it said. No proper product labels were found on the stuffed toys distributed by the toy workshops in Rongcheng and Baigou, which also did not have business licences. 'We give a pass to safety labels; we don't bother about them,' an unnamed owner of one of the illegal workshops was quoted as saying. 'We don't have user instructions either. We're just groping for fish in muddied waters.' Their toys were also distributed to Henan , Shanxi and Gansu . 'They're cheap and thus all over the country,' the owner said. According to statistics released yesterday by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, around 77 per cent of non-export toys on the mainland met national safety standards. The result was calculated after the quality inspection agency checked 104 toy factories from six provinces, including Fujian , Guangdong, Shandong , Zhejiang , Jiangsu and Shanghai.