Nuremberg 2008: Are new toy safety standards enough?

Product safety rules continue to be a huge talking point as Nuremberg gets underway.
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Consumer groups and manufacturers are still undecided whether the announced overhaul of EU toy safety rules have gone far enough.

Before last year's Mattel recalls, EU regulators were working on updating the 20 year-old directive aimed at guaranteeing a high level of safety in products sold.

The European Commission announced in late January that it wanted to cut the level of lead and other toxic substances as well as fragrances.

Laura Degaillaix, biochemist and policy advisor to BEUC, the European Consumer's Organisation in Brussels, said: "We have a far greater awreness of chemical risks today than twenty years ago."

However, the Toy Industries of Europe (TIE), an action group that represents Lego and European divisions of Mattel and Hasbro, argues the industry is always seeking global solutions to raise the bar on toy safety and that its corporate members go further than the legal minimum required.

Bryan Ellis, chairman of TIE (pictured) and an independent cosultant for Hasbro said the new directive is a reasonbale compromise between what manufacturers are capable of achieveing and the public interest.

"The most important thing for toy companies is branding and reputation. We clearly have very strong commercial interest in producing safe products, but the standards that we are required to meet need to be practical, mecessary and doable," Ellis said.

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