Toys Safety Regulation: the revision must not turn into a missed opportunity to protect our children from harmful exposure to endocrine disruptors

The position of the Council of the EU on the revision of the Toys Safety legislation does not reflect the latest scientific findings and is a step back from the ambitious approach taken by the European Parliament. We call on the Council to take its responsibility and support the necessary legal steps to stop the widespread use of harmful substances in toys which continue to impact children’s health and well-being.

Existing peer-reviewed studies provide ample evidence for the association between child exposure to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) and the onset of numerous illnesses including endocrine cancer, obesity, disturbed timing of puberty, impaired fertility, neurodevelopment alterations and numerous rare diseases.

Children’s toys continues to be a key source for exposure with 25% of children’s toys containing harmful chemicalsi. A recent study conducted by a Danish consumer organisation analysed 121 children’s products, including toys, blankets and drinking bottles and found that more than 60% of them contained or released at least one, but in many cases two or more, bisphenolsii.

Hence, better measures to protect our children’s health are urgently needed and ESPE strongly regrets that the Member States do not align with the European Parliament in including a group ban on PFAS and bisphenols, nor in tightening the derogations to generic bans.

Additionally, according to the Council, only substances classified at EU level as carcinogenic, mutagen or reprotoxic (CMR) under the Classification, Labelling and Packing Regulation should be banned from toys. This position, which worryingly diverges from the generic ban procedure under REACH, the main EU chemicals safety law, implies that a wide range of substances, including CMR substances and endocrine disruptors, would have to go first through the lengthy classification process and could in the meantime still be present at harmful health levels in toys.

Last, the Council restricted the Commission’s proposal to remove only endocrine disruptors that have an impact on human health from toys. It artificially leaves aside endocrine disruptors released in the environment and ignores the fact that they will ultimately impact human healthiii.

The Council’s position is clearly insufficient to effectively protect children from harmful chemicals. ESPE urges the co-legislators to strive for an ambitious agreement during the trilogues, which should be as close as possible to the Parliament’s position.


About ESPE

The European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology (ESPE) is an international society registered in Europe that promotes the highest levels of clinical care for infants, children and adolescents with endocrine problems throughout the world, including in less advantaged areas. At the EU level, it works with the EU and partner organisations to create a healthier environment for children and adults.

i Aurisano N, Huang L, Milà I Canals L, Jolliet O, Fantke P. Chemicals of concern in plastic toys. Environ Int. 2020; 106194
iii Li X, Gao Y, Wang J, Ji G, Yang D, Shen H, Dong Q, Pan L, Xiao H, Zhu B, Exposure to environmental endocrine disruptors and human health. Journal of Public Health and Emergency, Vol.1 (2017).