Friday 26 November 2010

WECF Toys Conference in Paris

WECF France organised a conference in Paris about "toys and hazardous chemicals: exploring solutions". REACH and the substitution of chemicals of concern were in the focus of the attending European experts. Topics such as consumer protection, good practices and incentive measures were discussed.
It took place November 18th 2010.

You can read more about it on the WECF webpage.

Thursday 11 November 2010

Germany wants stricter rules on toys safety

The revised toy safety directive adopted in 2009 will fail tp preotect children's health, German economy minister Rainer Brüderle said in October 2010. Germany will lobby for a thightening of limits for chemicals befote the rules become effective.

The federal risk assessment institute BfR has repeatedly warned of loopholes in the new European rules. Germany now wants to strengthen restrictions on heavy metals, allergenic substances and carcarcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotxic (CMR) substances.

As a first step towards new European rules an expert group on chemicals in the toys safety directive will be created.

At the same time, Germany's product testing group Stiftung Warentest revealed that two thrids of a sample of 50 toys testes by the organisation contained high concentrations of chemicals such as formaldehyde and heavy metals. Seven of the 50 products should not have been on the market at all.

This emphasises the importance of realiable labels to enable an informed consumers choice. The CE label only stands for compliance wir existing EU product safety rues. Toys, however, do not yet have to comply with the revised toy safety directive.

Saturday 6 November 2010

Toys Conference in Berlin - when toys make you sick!

Together with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung WECF organised a conference on the safety of toys. When toys make sick - risks for small consumers, the responsibility of politics and economy.

Chemicals, which are toxic for adults, are even more dangerous for children. Quite a few regulations try to protect children from these effects. The European Toys Directive was therefore updated in 2008 to cater for new technological developments and other important factors. But the experts are still discussing if the limits are low enough to cater for the needs of the small consumers and if the Directive really covers al hazardous substances in toys.

Monday 26 April 2010

Childrens Environmental Action Plan for Europe

The European Environment and Health Action Plan 2004-2010 (EHAP) aims to implement the Environment and Health Strategy (SCALE- science, children, awareness, legislation, evaluation).

The action plan consists of 13 action points and is designed to give the EU the scientifically grounded information to reduce the adverse health impacts of environmental factors and to create better cooperation between actors in the environment, health and research fields.

It has three main themes:

* improving the information chain
* filling the knowledge gap
* reviewing policies and improving communication.

Read more about it and what WECF does on the WECF-Website.

Tuesday 16 March 2010

Giving birth to the Safe Toys Coalition

Eleven members and partners of WECF from nine countries actively participated at an international toys training in November in Bavaria. Excursions to main German toy producer Playmobil, testing institute LGA and the label „spielgut“, gave important insights in the toys market and the challenges it faces.

The following workshop in Munich summarized all the experience made during the excursions and went deeper into the specific situation in the participants counties. Agreeing that there are many things to do on the way to a world without toxic toys, all participants agreed on starting a common work on this important issue by founding the Safe Toys Coalition.

Both the excursions and the following workshop were very motivating: Playmobil, a company with a turnover of 496 Mio. Euros, surprised us with an unexpected openness and a wonderful hospitality and the earnest effort to produce safe and healthy toys.

Visit at Playmobil production in Dietenhofen, Foto: WECF

The modern testing mashines and laboratories of LGA impressed all participants and Mr. Galsterer’s personal tips and views were much appreciated.

Mr. Glasterer (LAGA) with teddy bear

The chemist of the label „spielgut“, Mr. Döring, showed cheap and feasable tests, which can also be undertaken in public places and presented current problems regarding hazardous ingredients in toys.

Mr. Döring fom label “spielgut” testing halogen flame retardants

During the workshop it was concluded after exchanging information on specific national characteristics in the Czech Republic, Russia, Macedonia, Belarus, Estonia, Sweden, Greece, France, the Netherlands and Germany that the same problems could be found everywhere, although in different intensity:

  • hazardous ingredients in toys
  • none or no sufficient legislation
  • no mandatory controlling by third party tests (except US)
  • no declaration, labelling for consumers

All participants agreed on cooperating and getting active to ensure safe toys for the healthy future of children. The high motivation and enthusiasm resulted in the creation of the "Safe Toys Coalition"
First steps will be a common statement and the call for more NGOs to join it. Furthermore the toys guide will be translated in 6 additional languages and serves for national awareness raising. The planning of concrete next steps showed the personal comittmentof all participants.