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Monday March 14, 2016

EU Two-Year Toy Surveillance Project Generates 11 Lessons

ProSafe's recent report on its two-year toy surveillance project identified eleven lessons. However, the group cautioned that the results of the excise do not represent a statistically valid picture of EU markets because work involved surveillance professionals seeking out units they deemed likely to be noncompliant or unsafe. The focus was on toys intended for children under age 3.


The effort – running in calendar years 2014 and 2015 – occurred in Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, and Portugal. Inspectors targeted 312 market operators: nine manufacturers, 82 importers, and 221 distributors. Of some 1,850 samples, 604 received tests, mostly for mechanical/physical and chemicals provisions of the EN 71 toy standard.


About 40% of the 604 tested items had labeling problems and 23% had language issues. Meanwhile, testing subsets targeted three issues (some items got more than one test):

  • Mechanical/physical – 265 tests – no risk (60%), medium risk (3%), high risk (2%), and serious risk (35%).

  • Restricted elements – 200 tests – no risk (98.5%), pending (0.5%), high risk (0.5%), and serious risk (0.5%).

  • Phthalates – 228 tests – no risk (86.8%), low risk (<0.5%), medium risk (<0.5%), and serious risk (12.3%).

The eleven lessons cited in the report included:

  • The caution on the limitations of results (see above) applies broadly since any surveillance can involve targeting.
  • Small parts compliance needs improvement.
  • Labeling problems could be targeted by customs agencies.
  • Warnings, markings and instructions need improvement.
  • DIBP requirements need refinement due to the newness of attention, questions about risk, and differing thresholds.
  • Sampling occurred without issues or problems.
  • Test reports individualized to each sample were valuable.
  • Checklists and guidances helped to focus the work.
  • Stakeholder input, including periodic meetings, was useful.
  • Joint tendering of test services leads to better prices.
  • Participation of the Toy-ADCO expert group added value.

The report is at