European Commission’s Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability

Today, the European Commission published its Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability. Toy Industries of Europe (TIE), representing reputable toy makers in Europe, supports the aim of the Commission’s new Chemicals Strategy to address the challenges caused by the most harmful chemicals.

Safety is our number one priority and toys are among the most strictly regulated products in the EU. No toy is legally permitted on the market if it is not safe for children to play with.

The EU Toy Safety Directive includes strict rules on which substances can be used for toys. It has built-in safety margins to protect children. The Toy Safety Directive is also flexible enough to be adapted when new scientific evidence comes to light.  In many cases, the limits for some substances in toys are effectively already a ban. However, we need to be wary of stricter regulation if it does not have a positive impact on toy safety but instead merely increases costs for reputable brands and makes it more profitable for rogue traders to ignore the rules.

We specifically strongly welcome the Commission’s intent to tackle the problem of non-compliance. This is a real problem for the reputable players in our sector who have always prioritised safety while rogue traders ignore the rules. To take an example, toys were one of the first products where harmful phthalates were banned. Yet more than 20 years after that legislation came into force, up to 30 % of the toys notified on the EU’s Toy Safety Gate concern serious breaches of these rules.

In June, TIE released a report demonstrating the problem with toys sold by unreputable traders on online marketplaces. 97% of toys we bought online from third-party sellers were non-compliant with EU law and 76% of those safety-tested were deemed dangerous for children. The strictest legislation and standards are of no use if not properly enforced.