The Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee voted on a report on children’s toy safety on 9 December. It includes proposals to strengthen current legislation and make sure that toys sold on the EU market, including toys imported from other countries, are safe and sustainable. The report is due to be voted during the plenary session in January 2022.
Why current rules need updating
The Toy Safety Directive was adopted in 2009. It sets safety requirements for toys intended for children under 14 years of age and includes rules on chemical, physical, mechanical, electrical, flammability, hygiene and radioactivity hazards.
The directive sets out provisions for manufacturers, importers, distributors of toys sold in the EU and for national market surveillance to guarantee the free circulation of toys that do not present a risk to their young users.
The European Commission’s 2020 evaluation report concluded that the directive still has shortcomings, mainly related to achieving health and safety objectives. The Parliament’s consumer protection committee’s report concludes that a revision of the directive is necessary to improve these aspects.
Children, as particularly vulnerable consumers in a delicate age, should enjoy the highest possible level of protection during their playtime. […] Children’s health and safety are non-negotiable and should be in the interest of all society.Brando Benifei (S&D, Italy)
Rapporteur for the Report on the implementation of the Toy Safety Directive
Better market surveillance
To ensure that only safe and compliant toys circulate in the EU market, the report calls for the improvement of market surveillance activities by the Member States. These include testing toys on the market and verifying manufacturers’ documentation with a view to withdrawing unsafe toys and taking action against those responsible for placing them on the market. Online marketplaces should also ensure that products sold on their platforms conform to EU safety requirements.
Stricter requirements for chemical substances
In the current legislation, specific limit values for chemicals only apply to toys for children under 36 months of age and toys that are intended to be placed in the mouth. The limit values for potentially dangerous substances such as nitrosamines and nitrosatable substances are deemed to be too high. The directive also allows for certain exemptions from the prohibition of chemicals that are carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic for reproduction.
The committee report calls for the elimination of these shortcomings by setting stricter compliance requirements and consolidating all applicable chemical limits. The new legislation should be able to adapt quickly and effectively to new scientific and technological developments that identify the emergence of previously unknown risks from toys.