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Monday February 01, 2021

Playing It Safe: Keeping Score on Toys and Childcare Products

The safety of toys and childcare products is an area of constant focus for the European Commission. Below is our round-up of three developments to keep on your radar:


The European Commission is looking at possible derogations from upcoming prohibitions on cobalt and titanium dioxide: The European Commission submitted a request to the SCHEER in November 2020 for opinions on whether the presence cobalt and also titanium dioxide can be considered as safe in certain toys and toy materials, to assist the Commission to consider whether to introduce derogations from upcoming prohibitions for these substances. Last year, cobalt and titanium dioxide (in powder form with certain size particles) were classified as carcinogenic under the EU CLP Regulation (No. 1272/2008), with the classification coming into force later this year. The knock-on effect is that this means these substances will be prohibited under the Toy Safety Directive in excess of the concentrations listed in the CLP Regulation, unless specific derogations under the Toy Safety Directive are put in place.


Evaluation of the Toy Safety Directive published, identifies a number of areas involving chemicals that require "urgent attention." The long awaited evaluation of the Toy Safety Directive was published in November 2020 (PSL, 12/7/20). Whilst the evaluation concludes that overall, the effectiveness of the Directive appears to have improved compared to the previous 1988 Directive, there are several areas requiring "urgent attention":

  • The limit values on certain chemicals listed in Appendix C currently only apply to toys intended for children under the age of 36 months and to toys intended to be put in the mouth. Member States and others have called for the limitation on children's age and types of toys to be scrapped and the Commission has agreed that this limitation hampers the effectiveness of the Toy Safety Directive.

  • It was considered that limit values for nitrosamines and for nitrosatable substances in the Directive were too high. The evaluation notes that Germany has set lower levels in its national laws, which the European Commission has acknowledged as being justified in a Commission Decision.

  • It was also considered that the derogation from the prohibition of chemicals that are carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic for reproduction (up to the relevant concentrations listed in the CLP Regulation) tolerates their presence in concentrations too high to protect children's health.

  • Labelling requirements prescribed in the Directive for specific allergenic substances in certain "experimental" toy sets cannot be easily updated when the related lists of allergenic substances is updated, due to the differing legislative processes required to be followed.

Revised standards for childcare articles (excluding toys) under the General Product Safety Directive. The European Commission is looking at updating the standards for childcare articles (excluding toys) under the General Product Safety Directive 2001/95/EC. The Commission has noted that the current standards for childcare articles (other than toys) are based on a 1997 mandate that is now outdated. A draft decision forming the basis for the request to the standardisation bodies to prepare new and/or updates standards is expected to be published soon, with an opportunity for stakeholders to provide feedback.


The mandates requesting opinions from SCHEER can be found and A copy of the evaluation of the Toy Safety Directive can be found Link The European Commission's webpage for its initiative to revise standards for childcare articles can be found


Dispatch from the EU is a monthly feature provided exclusively for PSL subscribers by Cooley LLP, For further information about the above, contact Rod Freeman at