EU Toy Safety Directive in Effect July 20, 2011

9 August 2011

The European Union’s Toy Safety Directive (TSD), which strengthens the EU’s safety criteria for all toys produced domestically and imported from abroad, came into effect on July 20, 2011 (with the exception of chemical requirements). Approved on June 30, 2009, the law was officially implemented across each EU state on January 20, 2011.

Directive 2009/48/EC applies to toys, which are defined as “products that are designed or intended, whether or not exclusively, for use in play by children under 14 years of age.” The Directive requires manufacturers to carry out a safety assessment of all toys before placing them on the market, including an analysis of the chemical and non-chemical (physical, mechanical, electrical, flammability, hygiene and radioactivity) hazards that the toy may present as well as an assessment of the potential exposure to such hazards.

TSD requirements regarding chemical contents in toys will come into force on July 20, 2013. During the two-year transitional period, regulations contained in the old Directive 88/378/EEC will continue to apply. Note: the new TSD obliges manufacturers to carry out chemical safety assessments (to existing requirements) until the new chemical requirements are in effect.

Standards laid down by standardization bodies such as the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) will ensure that the safety of toys is harmonized at the manufacturing stage. The CEN published a new European standard in June 2011; EN 71-1:2011 Safety of toys – Part 1: Mechanical and physical properties is the first of the EN71 series to take into consideration the provisions of the new TSD. Other sections of EN71 will be revised and published subsequently, including EN71-2 Flammability and EN71-8 Activity Toys, each expected later this year. A complete list of Toy Safety Standards Around the World can be viewed on the International Council of Toy Industries (ICTI) website.

The complete Directive 2009/48/EC is available online. Additional information can be found on the European Commission of Enterprise and Industry website.

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