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The EU Is Nicking British Kids’ Toys And Bursting Their Balloons – Say Daily Mail And Telegraph

by | 10th, October 2011

SCARE Story of The Day: The EU are nicking British kids’ toys and bursting their balloons:

The Daily Mail tells readers:

Brussels bans toys: Party blowers and other stocking fillers are barred in EU safety edict

Thanks to the EU “Prices of toys will also go up for Christmas”

Kate Loveys writes:

Christmas stockings look likely to be a little lighter this year because of a new EU edict  on toy safety. Many traditional filler toys are being banned because they do not conform to tough regulations imposed by Brussels. Party blowers, magnetic fishing games, toy lipsticks, whistles and recorders are among the favourites deemed too dangerous.

She speaks of the Toy Safety Directive, published in 2009. And none of the examples she gives of toys banned are specifically mentioned in it. The EU missive aims to make the CE marks one of quality and:

▪ It substantially amends the old Directive across virtually all safety aspects.
▪ It fulfils to the highest level the newest health and safety standards.
▪ It improves the existing rules for the marketing of toys that are produced in and imported into the EU in view to reducing toy related accidents and achieving long-term health benefits.
It’s a bit odd that the Mail, a paper that laments news ways to die in tragic accidents should be upset at improved safey standards for the kiddie-winkies?

Directive 2009/48/EC applies to toys defined as “products designed or intended, whether or not exclusively, for use in play by children under 14 years of age”.
It foresees 19 products not to be considered as toys within the meaning of the Directive and 5 toys the Directive is not applying to (for example, toy steam engines, slings…etc.).

This new Directive came into force on 20 July 2009, and will become a legal document in all Member States once it has been implemented into national legislation (by 20 January 2011).

The Member States must begin applying the new measures from 20 of July 2011, except for annex II part III (chemical requirements).
The new Directive brings in particular more references on chemicals by limiting the amounts of certain chemicals that may be contained in materials used for toys.

Chemicals that are susceptible to provoke cancer, change genetic information or harm reproduction, so-called CMR (Carcinogenic, Mutagenic or toxic for Reproduction) substances, are no longer allowed in accessible parts of toys.

And this is bad news?

For certain substances like nickel tolerable limit values have been introduced and certain heavy metals which are particularly toxic, like lead, may no longer be intentionally used in those parts of toys that are accessible to children.

Allergenic fragrances are either completely forbidden, if they have a strong allergenic potential, or have to be labeled on the toy if they are potentially allergenic for some consumers.

Again, this sounds good, no?

But Loveys is upset:

Under the rules, children under the age of eight are no longer allowed to blow up balloons, if they are unsupervised. All teddies and soft toys for children under three must be washable to prevent the spread of disease and infection – and limits have been imposed on how noisy toys, including babies’ rattles, can be. Manufacturers are likely to be forced to increase their prices this Christmas to cover the cost of new tests demanded by the directive.

We took a look at the draconian EU directive. Highlights are:

Technological developments in the toys market have, however, raised new issues with respect to the safety of toys and have given rise to increased consumer concerns….

In order to protect children from the risk of impairment of hearing caused by sound-emitting toys, more stringent and comprehensive standards to limit the maximum values for both impulse noise and continuous noise emitted by toys should be established. It is therefore necessary to lay down a new essential safety requirement concerning the sound from such toys…

In order to allow toy manufacturers and other economic operators sufficient time to adapt to the requirements laid down by this Directive, it is necessary to provide for a transitional period of two years after the entry into force of this Directive during which toys which comply with Directive 88/378/EEC may be placed on the market. In the case of chemical requirements, this period should be set at four years so as to allow the development of the harmonised standards which are necessary for compliance with those requirements….

1. WhenaMemberStateortheCommissionconsidersthata harmonised standard does not entirely satisfy the requirements which it covers and which are set out in Article 10 and Annex II, the Commission or the Member State concerned shall bring the matter before the Committee set up by Article 5 of Directive 98/34/EC, giving its arguments. The Committee shall, having consulted the relevant European standardisation bodies, deliver its opinion without delay…

A toy intended for use by children under 36 months must be designed and manufactured in such a way that it can be cleaned. A textile toy shall, to this end, be washable, except if it contains a mechanism that may be damaged if soak washed. The toy shall fulfil the safety requirements also after having been cleaned in accordance with this point and the manufacturer’s instructions….

So. Nothing bad about the directive which aims to protect children and homogenise standards to a higher levels. Only to Loveys this is:

The revelation comes as the Coalition faces mounting pressure to relieve British businesses from the throttling grip of health and safety legislation from Europe.

Party blowers – which unscroll when blown – are categorised as unsafe for under-14s under rules governing toys that children put in their mouths. EU officials claim bits of blower could come off and cause choking.

Loveys is hammering on. It’s as if she’s stopped listening, happy to manipulate the facts the prove a preconceived point. Only she might well be listening. Her words sound familiar – they sound a lot like the words used one day ealier by the Telegraph’s Bruno Waterfield:

Whistle blowers, that scroll out into a a long coloured paper tongue when sounded – a party favourite at family Christmas meals – are now classed as unsafe for all children under 14.

But the kids can can still blow them up once the devices have passed the tests.

Loveys finally gets to her point:

MPs are to debate, before Christmas, whether the Government should give voters a chance to decide, through a referendum, if they want to leave the European Union.

And as for ballons:

“For latex balloons there must be a warning that children under eight years must be supervised and broken balloons should be discarded.”

Again this is presented as being terrible by the Telegraph, which solicits a few opinions on the directive:

Frank Furedi, professor of sociology at the University of Kent, warned that toy safety bans were part of a trend to micro-manage children’s lives at the expense of allowing them to explore, learn and have fun through play. Toys and activities, such as blowing up balloons, are part and parcel of the type of children’s play that helps them become independent and self-reliant,” he said. “These bans diminish the experience, both of having fun and learning, by turning play into a danger zone with rules that stifle life and adventure for children.”

And:

Paul Nuttall, a member of the European Parliament’s consumer safety committee, said the “kill joy” world of EU officialdom was being ill-equipped to understand the concept of children having fun.
“I would say that this is crackers but I sure children are banned from using them too. EU party poopers should not be telling families how to blow up balloons,” said the Ukip MEP.

The only person quoted who has anything postive to say sounds like a nutter:

But the European Commission has insisted that the new safety legislation was needed to prevent “horror stories”. “These safety standards have been agreed by the UK together with the other EU member states in order to prevent every parent’s worst nightmare,” said a spokesman.

Indeed. Every parent’s worst nightmare is a moveable fear, it being used most often to talk of children going missing. News that every parent’s worst nightmare is a party popper does not make the EU directive seem at all grounded.

The last word might be with the Balloon Council, a balloon industry body in the US:

There’s still a way to go, but thankfully there’s been improvement. A look at the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) records from 1973 to 1998 shows that the number of annual small child choking deaths caused by balloons reached a high of 17 in 1989, but by 1998, the number was 4.

Warning Labels Are Effective

One key component in this decline in the accidental fatality rate is warning labels. The balloon industry has worked hard to increase awareness and educate consumers in how properly to use— and most importantly, dispose of — latex balloons.

But instead the last word is with the Daily Mail, which told us:

Latex glove allergies that affect one in six NHS staff could be cut by new alternative

Balloons are made from latex.

First they came for the toys – then they came for our gloves…



Posted: 10th, October 2011 | In: Key Posts Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink