EU Draft Decision on safety standards for children’s products

Materials and Products, Senza categoria

On 5 August 2022, the European Commission published a 'Draft Decision' concerning the safety requirements to be met by European standards for certain children's products and related products (excluding toys) under the General Product Safety Directive 2001/95, with the aim of updating them.

Of all the products notified as dangerous in 2020 and 2021 through the Union’s rapid alert system ‘Safety Gate’, (formerly called RAPEX), most cases concerned children’s products. Given the particular fragility of children, the European Commission intends to strengthen the safety of products for them, in particular with regard to the presence of hazardous chemicals.

The aim of this proposal is to serve as an ‘input’ for requesting national standardisation bodies to develop new and/or update already published standards.  The updated specific safety requirements should reflect new scientific and technical knowledge and market developments. The proposed decision includes requirements to be met by European standards for children’s products and related products according to certain risk categories (risk-based approach). This approach enables a comprehensive assessment of the different risks to which children may be exposed when using products intended for them. Furthermore, the risk-based format makes it easier to compare the requirements with the content of the standards, facilitating the compliance of the standards with the requirements.

 

The hazard categories are set out in the annex to the proposed decision. The listed hazards include, among others:

– chemical risks,

– thermal and flammability risks,

– entrapment and entanglement risks,

– risks from moving parts,

– suffocation risks,

– ingestion risks,

– risks associated with stability and structural integrity,

– fall hazards,

– drowning risks,

– electrical risks,

– biometric risks,

– acoustic and radiation risks,

– hygiene risks

– risks associated with the information provided with the product.

 

In particular, with regard to chemical hazards, the draft decision stipulates that standards must reflect the latest guidelines and specifically address knowledge about children’s safety and health (with regard to ingestion, inhalation and absorption). When establishing requirements for the chemical safety of children’s products, e.g. by determining appropriate limit values for chemicals, standardisation bodies must consider all relevant guidelines, regulatory provisions and the latest scientific findings for similar products. Due to specific conditions of use (e.g. duration of exposure, particular use of a product) thresholds should also be adapted to suit the foreseeable use of the product.

At the beginning of September 2022, the feedback period ended and the proposal is now in preparation.

The technicians in Centrocot’s International area will monitor the evolution of the proposal and inform about the issuance and also remind that the Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex Class 1 Certification for articles for babies and young children up to 3 years of age (underwear, sleepsuits, clothing, bed linen, sponges, etc.) reflects these chemical safety requirements.

 

STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® is an internationally uniform and independent testing and certification system for raw materials, semi-finished and finished products in the textile industry at all processing levels, as well as for the accessory materials used. Examples of certifiable articles: unbleached, dyed and finished yarns, woven and knitted fabrics, accessories such as buttons, zips, sewing threads or labels, made-up articles of all kinds (clothing of all kinds, home and furnishing fabrics, bed linen, sponges etc.).

Since 1992, the main aim of STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® has been the development of verification criteria, limit values and test methods on a scientific basis. Based on the extensive and strict list of requirements comprising several hundred individual regulated substances, the STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® covers:

 

– Important legal regulations such as azo dyes, formaldehyde, pentachlorophenol, cadmium nickel, etc.

– Numerous chemicals that are hazardous to health, although not yet regulated by law.

– Of the requirements of Annexes XVII and XIV of the European Chemicals Regulation REACh and the ECHA candidate list of SVHC substances, if these are relevant for textiles and clothing or accessories according to the assessment of the OEKO-TEX® expert group. Following discussions and developments considered relevant, the requirements of STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® are updated as quickly and effectively as possible.

– Requirements of the US Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) for lead.

– Numerous substance classes also relevant for the environment

 

Thanks to its decades of experience, STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® contributes to a high level of product safety from the consumer’s point of view. The verification criteria and limit values are far more demanding than the nationally and internationally valid parameters. Comprehensive product testing and regular company audits also raise the awareness of industry for the responsible use of chemicals, in the long term and on a global scale. This concept has given STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® a dominant role for many years.

 

The product classes are distinguished as follows:

– Product class I:

Articles for infants and young children up to 3 years of age (underwear, rompers, clothing, sheets, sponges, etc.).

– Product Class II:

Articles used in contact with the skin (underwear, bed linen, t-shirts, socks etc.).

– Product Class III:

Products not in contact with the skin (jackets, coats, etc.)

– Product Class IV:

Furnishing/decorative materials (curtains, tablecloths, upholstery, etc.).

For further information, please visit www.centrocot.it in the OEKO-TEX® section.

 

For further information on regulations, please contact: Barbara Albertini, barbara.albertini@centrocot.it

Author: Barbara Albertini

Centrocot International Dept.