Members of the European Union have agreed to seek a regional approach to testing soft PVC baby teething rings.
By doing so, EU members rejected a demand from Greenpeace that the European Commission immediately ban the sale of soft PVC toys in Europe. This followed conflicting test findings in different countries on the safety of soft PVC baby teething rings.
Instead, the 15 EU countries ordered an immediate review of existing test methods among the nations. They requested advice on formulating a suitable Europewide approach to testing.
The EU initiative follows a call from Toy Industries of Europe, a Brussels, Belgium-based regional industry association, for a review of testing aimed at establishing a European standard.
``We warmly welcome the member states' rational approach to this issue and their rejection of the completely unjustified Greenpeace call for a ban on soft PVC toys,'' said TIE Chairman Graham Benison.
He accused the environmental group of ``scatter-gun scaremongering'' and added: ``The industry always has and always will support thorough testing of its products and comprehensive safety standards, but we reject absolutely the attempt by Greenpeace to whip up consumer fears where there are no grounds to do so.''
The EU review and report is being carried out by officials at the European Commission's consumer policy directorate.
Teether tests in Denmark had suggested that PVC products could be hazardous when used by children, but tests carried out in Italy on the same products gave them the safety all-clear.
The EU decision highlights a gap in European regulations relating to the use of additives in plastic toys. Stabilizers, used to produce rigid PVC toys, already are regulated through EU Toy Directive migration standards.
In October, the European Council of Vinyl Manufacturers called on the European Committee for Standardisation to issue ``further clear quality standards'' for the manufacture of such toys.
In addition, the ECVM urged the EU to accelerate independent risk assessments of additives used for rigid and soft PVC applications.