EU institutes laws for manufacturing of safe toys
March 22, 2010
While much attention in the US has focused on harmful toys produced in China, this insightful article describes measures that have been approved in the Member States of the European Union to insure the manufacturing of safe toys within their borders.

The Member States of the European Union have passed new toy security measures that will prohibit poisonous substances and will limit the use of heavy alloys. With the regulation, chemical substances that can produce carcinoma, by modifying the genetic information or affecting fecundation, will be prohibited in children’s toys and gadgets. Therefore, heavy and harmful minerals, like lead or mercury, will not be used in toys from now on.

These measures will prevent children from choking on removable toy parts. Now, the tiny miniatures, including those in oatmeal and cereal boxes, will always come in separate packages. Toys that come in a food related product, where the consumption of snacks is needed to obtain the toy, will be prohibited.

The manufacturers of children’s toys will have to conduct value formulations on toy security and facilitate transparent information to all manufactured goods, including information about the synthetic substances that were used in order to ease commissary market surveillance.

The importer also must demonstrate that the manufacturers have executed adequate toy control tests, as well as preliminary testing. The requirements for toy distributors will be strengthen as well.

The Member States of the European Union must allow surveillance and government officials to execute different and convenient examinations within the external limits of the EU to consolidate the illegalization of dangerous toys. Market surveillance authorities will also be allowed to eliminate toys that constitute a mortal danger.

The new measures will substitute the actual regulation. Toy manufacturers have just two years, after the new legislation having entered into force, to accommodate to the new requirements. In the case for chemical requirements, the time of conversion will be of four years.

The training and education of children require actualization and constant effort from parents. To try to substitute this with toys is trying to find something utopian, like finding a machine that educates.

Commentary by Clemente Ferrer of Spain, president of the European Institute of Marketing (Translated by Gianna A. Sánchez-Moretti)

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Staff note: Information on the Mattel lead paint toy settlement may be found here.

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