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EuropeParliament backs tighter EU rules for toy safety

Parliament backs tighter EU rules for toy safety

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  • Ban on the most harmful chemicals such as endocrine disruptors
  • Smart toys to comply with safety, security and privacy standards by design
  • In 2022, toys topped the list of dangerous products alerts in the EU, comprising 23% of all notifications

The draft rules aim to decrease the number of unsafe toys sold in the EU single market and better protect children from toy-related risks.

On Wednesday, Parliament approved its position on revamped EU rules on toy safety with 603 votes in favour, 5 against and 15 abstentions. The text responds to a number of new challenges, mainly stemming from digital toys and online shopping, and converts the existing directive into a directly applicable regulation.

Ban on harmful chemicals

Focusing on children’s health and development, the proposal strengthens the requirements and bans on certain chemical substances in toys. The existing prohibition on carcinogenic and mutagenic substances or substances toxic for reproduction (CRM) is extended to chemicals that are particularly harmful to children, such as endocrine disruptors or chemicals affecting the respiratory system. The rules also target chemicals that are toxic to specific organs or are persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic. Toys should not contain any per- and polyfluorinated alkil substances (PFASs) either.

Strengthening checks

All toys sold in the EU will have to have a digital product passport (replacing the EU declaration of conformity), detailing compliance with the relevant safety rules. This will enhance the traceability of toys and make market surveillance and customs checks simpler and more efficient. Consumers will also have easy access to safety information and warnings, for example via a QR code. MEPs in their position urge the Commission to support and guide SME toy manufacturers in performing safety assessments and fulfilling the product passport requirements.

Safety, security and privacy by design

Toys with digital elements need to comply with safety, security and privacy by design standards. MEPs say toys using AI falling under the scope of the new Artificial Intelligence Act will have to comply with cybersecurity, personal data protection, and privacy requirements. Manufacturers of digitally connected toys need to follow the EU’s Cybersecurity rules and consider, where appropriate, the risks to mental health and the cognitive development of children using such toys.

Toys must also comply with the recently updated General Product Safety rules, for example, when it comes to online sales, accident reporting, consumer right to information and remedy.

Quote

Rapporteur Marion Walsmann (EPP, Germany) said: “Children deserve the safest toys possible. With the revised safety rules, we are giving them just that. We are protecting them against invisible dangers such as harmful chemicals and ensuring that warnings such as age restrictions are clearly visible online. The newly introduced digital product passport will ensure that consumers have access to information they need. At the same time, trade secrets will be protected – a strong signal for fair competition and that Europe is the place to do business”.

Next steps

The text constitutes Parliament’s position at first reading. The file will be followed up by the new Parliament after the European elections on 6-9 June.

Background

Before placing a toy on the market, manufacturers have to carry out safety assessments that cover all chemical, physical, mechanical, electrical flammability, hygiene and radioactivity hazards and potential exposure. Despite the EU market being among the safest in the world, dangerous toys still find their way into consumers’ hands. According to the EU Safety Gate (the EU rapid alert system for dangerous consumer products), toys were the most notified product category, accounting for 23% of all notifications in 2022 and 20% in 2021.

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