NEWS

Doctor warns of euro threat to little children

One drawback overlooked by the architects of Greece’s eurozone entry was the potential health risk posed to young children by the new currency, according to data released yesterday. Figures made public by Andreas Constantopoulos, an Athens University professor of pediatrics, show that accidents involving children swallowing coins have doubled on an annual basis since January 1, 2002, when the first euros came into circulation in the country. On average, while the drachma was Greece’s only currency, there were some 700 cases of children swallowing coins every year. After the euro was adopted, this figure doubled, reaching 1,400. Constantopoulos said similar problems had been recorded all over the eurozone. The new coins are more widely used than drachma coins, have greater value, and are also smaller and lighter.