EU wants to increase toy safety

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The EU plans to ban those that contain chemicals that can cause cancer or genetic change

The EU plans to increase toy safety, banning those that contain chemicals that can cause cancer or genetic change from the 27-nation bloc.

Under the plans, toys directly linked to sweets or other food would also be banned to prevent children from swallowing the toys, and product checks would become more stringent.

The plans must be approved by all 27 EU member states as well as the European Parliament before they can take effect.

"We will never have 100-percent safety, not even in case of toys ... but producers must meet all safety requirements," EU Industry Commissioner Guenther Verheugen said, calling for criminal sanctions against manufacturers and importers flouting common EU standards. (AP)

According to the European Consumers' Organization the draft law is a step in the right direction, but should have gone further. The organization said it would like to see a wider range of harmful substances banned.

The European Consumers' Organization would also like the European safety standards hallmark taken off toys because it is misunderstood by shoppers. Consumers think the CE hallmark means a product was made in Europe or tested by European authorities. However, the mark is simply a self-declaration by the manufacturer that the product complies with EU norms, which is not backed up by any official check.

EU officials reviewed safety controls across the union in September after millions of Chinese-made toys were recalled. Concerns over toy safety have remained high since the U.S. company Mattel Inc. last year ordered recalls of more than 21 million Chinese-made toys, including Barbie doll accessories and toy cars, because of concerns about lead paint and tiny magnets that could be swallowed. 

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