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.