Commissioners to vote on soft PVC toys ban

The European Commission is to vote in November on an emergency and a permanent ban on soft PVC teething toys for children under three.

The proposed ban may stand more chance than efforts by the former Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, Emma Bonnino, as it is backed by the present Commissioner David Byrne and the Enterprise and Information Society Commissioner, Erkki Liikanen, a Commission spokesperson told edie.

The Commission is expected to vote on both proposals on 10 November 1999.

The initiative was welcomed by Greenpeace, but criticised for only dealing with a part of the known problem, particularly in light of recent Dutch research showing that small children spend more time sucking on toys not meant for teething than on toys meant for teething.

Furthermore, says Greenpeace EU adviser Axel Singhofen, a permanent ban of this narrow scope would diminish the protection already in place or pending in 7 out of 15 EU Member States. These countries have included all toys for under- three-year-olds in their national bans.

Greenpeace also condemned the lack of a market withdrawal from the current proposals. A ban of future marketing alone would mean that all toys that have left the factory, e.g those on their way to Europe from China, or in stock and on shelves, could continue to be sold.

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