Measures to improve toy safety in order to minimize carcinogenic and cybersecurity risks

Pressure is mounting for better regulation of toy safety in the EU, with the proliferation of online sales increasing the risk of defective or dangerous toys falling into the hands of children.

Southern Ireland MEP Deirdre Clune was among a series of EU-level lawmakers to say some toy manufacturers and sellers are circumventing standards outside the EU on safety and compliance with block legislation.

The European Parliament’s responsible for toy safety, Italian MEP Brando Benefei, has presented proposals to ensure that toys sold in the EU market, including from third countries and online, are sure.

We believe, as a Parliament, that in order to ensure more safety for children when they play with their toys, that we ensure better protection against chemicals, also by strengthening labeling on this subject, as well as on the risks linked to connected toys and the risk of product danger.

“We have different aspects that need to be strengthened because children are particularly vulnerable consumers. So we cannot accept low levels of protection against carcinogens, mutagens and also against the risk of data misuse,” said Mr. Benefei.

The current market surveillance is not working effectively and we are seeing too many dangerous products, especially online, he said.

The Toy Safety Directive should be converted into a regulation, so that it can be more consistent and clear for all member states, he added.

Unlike EU directives which must be incorporated into the national laws of each state over time, an EU regulation is binding from the day it is introduced.

Toys are so advanced in 2021 that they use data sharing, Mr Benefei said.

We need to be sure that existing standards, such as data protection, which already exist and also new standards which will now be considered by Parliament, as these are often able to collect sensitive data and be used for everything as well. type of objective if we do not put in place clear safety rules.

Toys must be protected from cybersecurity risks, attacks and data misuse, he said.

Ms Clune pointed to an assessment carried out by Toy Industries of Europe (TIE) in 2020 which found that of the 193 toys surveyed, 97.4% were sold illegally in the EU, while 76.1% were identified as unsafe.

The main risks identified included sharp points, the risk of suffocation, strangulation or burns, as well as flammability and dangerous chemicals, Ms Clune said.

“Often these toys do not even comply with basic EU safety rules and will go on sale on these platforms, then be marked as unsafe and removed, and then appear the next day on a seller’s site, apparently. different all the time. presenting the same risks, ”she said.

Consumers should be wary of products marketed cheaper than expected, she warned.

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