Europe to tighten toy regulationsDangerous chemical substances are to be banned

26 January 2008

Dangerous chemical substances will be banned from use in toys sold across Europe under new plans.

Maximum limits for lead and mercury will also be reduced under the European Commission's proposed overhaul of the 20-year-old Toys Directive.

Some chemical substances which have been linked to cancer will be banned.

And the law will be stepped up to help prevent accidents caused by small parts in toys.

Chinese recall

The measures follow last year's recall of millions of Chinese-made Mattel toys either due to excessive levels of lead in paint or a risk of small parts coming off.

Toy manufacturers should issue better warnings to improve accident prevention, the proposals say.

A ban on toys being embedded in food products will also be brought in.

The Commission's proposals place greater responsibility on manufacturers and importers for toy marketing.

Toys Directive

They revise the existing Toys Directive which dates back to 1988.

EU Vice President Gunter Verheugen said: 'Health and safety of children is non-negotiable and cannot be subject to any compromises.

'That is why we have to ensure that toys put on the market in Europe are safe.'

The proposed changes will need to get approval from EU governments before they become law.

Arlene McCarthy, chair of the European Parliament's consumer protection committee, said: 'This new law must take account of new toy risks and the fact that 90% of our toys are imported from China and other non-EU countries.

'It must stand the test of time and meet our demands that toy imports meet the highest standards.'

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