Today, the European Parliament’s Internal Market & Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO) adopted a report on the new EU Toy Safety Regulation.
Toy Industries of Europe (TIE) has studied the outcome of the IMCO Committee vote on the new Toy Safety Regulation with interest and is relieved to find that the Committee has made some changes that would otherwise have made it very difficult for reputable toy makers to continue to make safe toys. The Committee has taken into consideration that the majority of reputable toy makers in the EU are SMEs and has done away with several elements that would have been extremely expensive and would not have added to the safety of the toy.
One such example is ensuring sound limits do not have to apply to all toys but only to toys that are designed to emit a sound. This means we will not need to measure the noise made by a tower of wooden blocks falling down or a row of domino stones, or the rolling of a skateboard, the bouncing of a basketball, etc… The problem is not that these examples would not pass the noise test but that they would need to be tested at all. Every extra test adds extra costs to the toy.
We are very glad that the IMCO Committee has overturned the requirements that would have made it impossible to use naturally occurring ingredients in toys. This is good news for manufacturers and consumers alike as it means that safe toys like crayons, paints, chalks etc will not be banned. The Committee’s vote also ensures that safe latex balloons will not need to be banned.
We welcome the Committee’s move to extend the proposed 12-month sell-through period for safe toys already on the market when the new rules start applying – a proposal that was not impact-assessed. But we regret that the extension has remained limited to 20 months. The hundreds of thousands of safe toys that will remain longer on shop shelves will need to be traced down and destroyed. This will be an inexplicable and inexcusable waste.
We regret that the IMCO Committee has not changed the proposed 30-month transition period which will be too short for many toys – taking into account that the clock will not start ticking at the publication of the new legislation for manufacturers. At least a year, probably 20 months or longer, will pass before toy manufacturers will be able to start making toys according to the new Regulation. First new Standards will need to be worked out and published. Also, certain exemptions for the safe use of substances that will have been banned will need to be obtained. And the Digital Product Passport will not be in place yet when the Regulation will be published. Add to that the 18 months it will take on average to develop a safe and compliant toy and 30 months is much too short.
We also see it as a missed opportunity for the Committee not to tackle one of the legal loopholes used by non-EU sellers and thus allowing a tsunami of dangerous toys on the EU market. Online marketplaces – which facilitate the sale of unsafe toys from third-country sellers – have no responsibility for the safety of the toys in the case where there is no seller based in the EU. We need this extended responsibility to ensure that marketplaces will be more careful about who they allow to sell through their platforms.
Despite the positive elements in the IMCO’s vote, there are still a substantial amount of worrying elements in the texts currently on the table. We call on all legislators involved to consider that if it becomes impossible for reputable toy companies to make compliant toys, this will result – perversely – in more unsafe toys in the hands of children as those who do not follow the rules today will not follow the new rules either and their toys will remain available.