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Sony swaps PlayStation One cables

The company is replacing peripheral cables for 1.3 million game consoles after the Dutch government blocks sales because of health and environmental concerns.

Sony is replacing peripheral cables for 1.3 million PlayStation One game consoles after the Dutch government blocked sales of the machines because of health and environmental concerns.

The Dutch government said Tuesday it had blocked shipment of the consoles and 800,000 accessories bound for the European Union market in a warehouse in the Netherlands because the cables contained too much cadmium.

On Wednesday, Sony said it had already started replacing the cables. It hoped to resume limited shipments of the consoles by mid-December.

"Although we have reservations about the interpretation of the regulations (by the Dutch authorities), we have begun replacing the cables," a Sony representative said.

Sony said its newer PlayStation 2 consoles were not affected by the ruling because they do not use the same cables.

The company will not replace cables for PlayStation One consoles sold in countries outside Europe if they did not violate environmental regulations in those nations, the company said.

Sony also said it will not recall any consoles already sold in Europe because the amount of cadmium in the cables does not--in its view--pose a health risk.

The cadmium contained in the cables only poses a risk if incorrectly disposed of, in which case it could have long-term environmental effects, Sony said.

Within the European Union, no goods are allowed to be imported that contain more than 0.01 percent cadmium. The Netherlands said the cables contained three times to 20 times the allowed amount.

A spokesman for the Dutch Environment Ministry said Tuesday that large concentrations of cadmium are banned in the Netherlands--in line with European Union policy--to prevent it from entering the food chain.

"Cadmium damages the kidneys," ministry spokesman Joost Kehrer said.

Sony did not say how much the cable replacement will cost the company.

Story Copyright © 2001 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.