EU Overturns Germany’s Heavy Metal Threshold Values for Toys

The European Court of Justice is forcing Germany to recognize the Directive on Toy Safety issued in 2009 (2009/48/EG, ABl. L 170, 1). Up to now, Germany followed the earlier EU standard, the Toy Safety Directive (88/378/EWG, ABl. L 187, 1) – based on the argument that the threshold values given there for lead, barium, antimony, arsenic, and mercury offer children better protection.

In its rationale, the court states that Germany is permitted to evaluate health risks differently than the European Union. However, the responsible agencies must then prove that their own, more restrictive threshold values “ensure a level of protection of public health which is higher than that of the EU harmonization measure” Germany was unable to provide such proof. In fact, Germany admitted during the case that the threshold values defined in Brussels do not pose any danger to children. Accordingly, the court rejected the German claims as unfounded.

You can find the press release on the decision here (only German).

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