Joint Market Surveillance Action in Europe to Target Non-Compliant Acoustic Toys

20 July 2015

PROSAFE, a quasi-governmental organization for market surveillance authorities and officers in Europe, has announced the launch of a two-year joint market surveillance action to target non-compliant products in five categories – including sound-emitting toys – in 27 European Union (EU) Member States and European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA) countries.

The joint action’s purpose is to “ensure the safety of consumers by identifying and removing unsafe products from the European market; level the playing field for business; and support the free flow of goods on the European market.” In addition to toys, the initiative is targeting safety barriers, LED and CFL lighting, fireworks and power tools.

A new amendment for acoustic or “noisy” toys was adopted when the European Commission’s toy safety standard (EN71-1) was updated in 2013. The new amendment classifies acoustic toys into three exposure categories, depending on the duration of exposure: Category I (toys with headphones or earphones), Category II (rattles and squeeze toys, wind toys which imitate musical instruments), and Category III (cap-firing toys and toy whistles). Risks associated with “noisy” toys include direct ear damage, noise-induced hearing loss, or auditory threshold shift as a result of excessive noise exposure.

Countries participating in this product group will ensure that toys which do not conform to the EN 71-1 requirements and pose a serious risk to consumers are removed from the market.

The joint action additionally includes method development activities to further improve best practices under the umbrella of PROSAFE, including: risk assessment of dangerous products; developing e-learning materials for market surveillance officers in Europe; implementation of mutual assessments between market surveillance authorities in various EU and EFTA Member States; and developing links between the market surveillance authorities and customs authorities, manufacturing nations and overseas regulatory authorities.

Countries participating in PROSAFE’s joint action include Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom. This is the largest joint action ever coordinated by PROSAFE.

PROSAFE’s primary objective is to improve the safety of users of products and services in Europe. While EU requirements are promulgated by Brussels, each member state is responsible for enforcement, and PROSAFE is partly funded by the European Commission to provide a forum for sharing best enforcement practices and as a means to increase consistency of enforcement.

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