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Antonio Tajani in Rotterdam to check toy safety in the EU

European Commission - IP/11/779   23/06/2011

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European Commission - Press release

Antonio Tajani in Rotterdam to check toy safety in the EU

Rotterdam, 23 June 2011 - Vice-President Antonio Tajani, European Commissioner for industry and entrepreneurship, is today at the harbor of Rotterdam to verify the opening of containers filled with toys that are daily checked to ensure that no harmful toys enter in the EU market. From 20 July manufacturers/importers need to respect strengthened safety requirements for toys imported in the EU. By this date, Member States will need to incorporate all requirements set by the new Toy Safety Directive adopted in 2009. Antonio Tajani, said: "I am delighted to acknowledge that the control measures are effective and provide a safe environment for our children; I am confident that both Members States and industry will help us in achieving this goal". The new rules fulfil the highest safety requirements world-wide, especially those relating to the use of chemical substances. It is particularly important that Member States will ensure enhanced market surveillance.

Background

What will change with the new toys directive?

  • The new legal framework will replace the old Toy Safety Directive from 1988 under which toys are currently placed on the market. The new toys directive addresses a wide range of issues to ensure that toys do not present any health hazards or risk of injury. As of 20th of July 2011 it will improve the existing rules for the marketing of toys that are produced in and imported into the EU with a view to reducing toy related accidents and to achieving long-term health benefits.

  • The Directive only sets the essential safety requirements that toys placed on the market in the EU have to fulfill. The technical specifications of products are fixed by standardization organizations.

Strong national market surveillance systems

  • Member States will have to ensure that market surveillance authorities (list of these bodies in the Member States) perform adequate checks at the EU external borders and within the EU including visits to premises of all economic operators to make sure that dangerous toys are immediately prohibited or withdrawn.

  • Market surveillance authorities can destroy toys presenting a serious risk.

Obligations for toy manufacturers, importers and distributors

  • All toys marketed in the EU must carry a CE conformity marking, which is the manufacturer's declaration that the toy satisfies all essential safety requirements (the CE marking now needs to be affixed also on its packaging if the mark is not visible from outside the packaging). Toys that are CE marked enjoy free circulation in the European Economic Area (EEA).

  • Before obtaining the CE mark a manufacturer has to carry out a safety and conformity assessment. The manufacturer has to establish more comprehensive technical documentation for all his/her products, including information on chemicals used and he has to ensure traceability.

  • Importers must check whether manufacturers have carried out conformity assessment of toys correctly and if necessary must carry out random tests themselves. If toy manufacturers/importers/ distributors do not fulfil the safety requirements of the Directive, Member States can impose penalties.

For more information on obtaining the CE marking and how Member States are ensuring market surveillance, see MEMO/11/448.

Five new safety requirements (these are the most important requirements toys need to respect): mechanical, physical, electrical, hygienical, chemicals.

New chemical requirements

For chemicals in particular, the new directive contains a ban of CMR (carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic) substances, which may be used only under very strict conditions (for example, when they are completely inaccessible to children). The use of certain heavy elements and allergenic fragrances is strictly restricted. Furthermore, if new scientific evidence is made available, the Commission can amend certain chemical provisions in order to be in line with the latest scientific evidence.

Enhanced safety requirements to prevent choking risks

Rules on toys and their parts to prevent children from choking or suffocating are strengthened. Toys in or co-mingled with food always need to be in a separate packaging. Toys which require the food to be consumed before getting access to the toy are prohibited.

Warnings on toys

Warnings need to be marked on toys in a clearly visible, easily legible manner in a language easily understood by consumers. Warnings that contradict the intended use of the toy are not allowed, in particular the warning “not suitable for children under 36 months” on toys clearly intended for this age group.

European toy safety campaign

In 2012, a European toy safety campaign will be organised in several Member States. The aim of the campaign is to increase economic operators ' awareness about the new rules that are coming into force, by providing specific seminars and training.

Contacts :

Carlo Corazza (+32 2 295 17 52)

Andrea Maresi (+32 2 299 04 03)


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