EU Toy-Safety Standards Ordered for Germany

     (CN) – Germany’s limits on chemical substances found in toys do not offer better consumer protection than those mandated by EU law, the Europe’s highest court ruled Thursday.
     After EU lawmakers set new limits for certain chemical substances found in toys in 2009, Germany lobbied the European Commission for permission to maintain its own limits on lead, barium, antimony, arsenic and mercury – arguing its standard offered better protections for consumers.
     The regulatory body rejected Germany’s request outright as it pertained to antimony, arsenic and mercury in 2012, and only authorized Germany to maintain its values as to lead and barium until 2013.
     Germany sued to annul the commission’s decision. In 2014, the European General Court held that German authorities failed to prove their limits offered better protection except in the case of lead. The lower court also noted that the commission had altered its limit for barium, rendering Germany’s claim on that heavy metal moot.
     On appeal, the European Court of Justice noted on Thursday that EU law allows member states to retain their own consumer-protection limits by relying on the fact that they evaluate risks to public health differently than the EU does.
     But in making that argument, member states must also prove their limits offer greater protection to the public than the EU’s do. Germany did not provide such evidence as to antimony, arsenic and mercury, the Luxembourg-based court ruled – affirming the lower court’s opinion in its entirety.
     Thursday’s opinion was not made available in English.

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