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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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Safety check on imported toys - a joint project of KAS, IH and UOKiK

< previous | next > 26.05.2021

Safety check on imported toys - a joint project of KAS, IH and UOKiK
  • The National Revenue Administration (KAS), the Trade Inspection Authority (IH) and the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) verified the safety of toys imported from outside the European Union.
  • The project aimed to prevent toys that pose a serious chemical risk to children from entering the market.
  • Border controls and specialised laboratory tests revealed that 36 per cent of the toys checked do not meet safety requirements, e.g. by exceeding the permissible concentration of phthalates.

"Not all goods manufactured outside and imported into the European Union meet EU requirements. An effective way of eliminating dangerous products from the market is seizing them at the border by the National Revenue Administration. If there are any doubts concerning the safety of toys, officers of the Customs and Fiscal Service request the Trade Inspection Authority to issue an opinion on whether a given product meets the requirements. They also use the results of specialised laboratory tests. Toys which do not meet the requirements are not allowed on Polish and European markets. If the level of identified risk is critical, and the toy is found dangerous to the health of children, it should be destroyed," explains Magdalena Rzeczkowska, Head of the National Tax Administration.

"Toys seized and destroyed at the border are reported in the EU RAPEX system in order to warn other EU Member States about the serious danger they pose to the youngest consumers," states Tomasz Chróstny, President of UOKiK.

Project assumptions

Joint activities of KAS, IH and UOKiK were conducted throughout Poland from 1 February to 31 March 2021.

"Their purpose was to prevent toys which pose a serious chemical risk to children from entering the market. Provision of consumer health and safety protection is an important non-fiscal task of the National Revenue Administration, as well as an area of constant cooperation between KAS, UOKiK and the Trade Inspection Authority," emphasises Magdalena Rzeczkowska, Deputy Minister.

“We have verified the safety of imported toys made entirely or partially of soft plastic. They included skipping ropes, water toys, toy cars, teethers and dolls, which accounted for the largest part of products checked. This is precisely the type of toys that phthalates are most often detected in – popular plastic softeners which, in excessive concentrations, pose a serious chemical threat to children," says Tomasz Chróstny, President of UOKiK.

The permissible concentration of phthalates in toys amounts to 0.1% in relation to the weight of the material with the addition of plasticisers (additives that increase the mechanical properties of plastic). The presence of higher than permissible concentrations of these compounds is dangerous to children. The toxicity of phthalates can vary. They can lead to fertility disorders, development of diseases such as allergies or cancer, or cause liver and kidney damage.

Phthalates are most likely to be detected in toys made entirely of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or those that contain PVC elements. PVC does not have a characteristic smell, therefore, it cannot be detected in such a way. Also, the presence of phthalates is not directly related to the colour of the material used.

Results of joint activities

Joint activities undertaken by KAS, IH and UOKiK focused on toys made of soft plastic or those, which include elements made of such material. The groups of toys in which phthalates are most commonly detected include:

  • dolls,
  • squeaky toys,
  • bath toys,
  • toys with suction cups,
  • balls,
  • bouncy balls,
  • ponies,
  • unicorns,
  • masks,
  • skipping ropes,
  • toy cars and other children's vehicles with soft tires,
  • teethers,
  • rattles.

From 1 February to 31 March 2021, 316 thousand pieces of toys were inspected, of which more than 114 thousand pieces, i.e. approx. 36%, did not meet the requirements.

Specialised laboratory testing of the collected samples was performed in the Central Customs and Fiscal Laboratory of the Chamber of Tax Administration in Warsaw, the Pomeranian Customs and Fiscal Office Laboratory in Gdynia and the Laboratory of the UOKiK in £ód¼.

Toys sent for laboratory testing were seized by officers from customs and tax offices in Gdańsk, Lublin, Poznań, Kraków, £ód¼ and Warsaw. 62% of items were collected in Gdańsk, which confirmed that the majority of toys are imported by sea.

Inspectorates of Trade Inspection Authority were also involved in the activities on the territory of voivodships, on which KAS officers seized toys and requested an opinion on whether they meet the requirements. Opinions for customs offices could also be issued with regard to toys, which were seized at the border but not collected for testing. In total, the Voivodship Inspectorates of Trade Inspection (WIIH) issued 83 customs opinions, of which 13 were positive and 70 negative.

KAS safety checks on toys

Protection of the health of the youngest consumers by preventing dangerous toys from entering the market is a permanent area of KAS' activities.

From January to April 2021, KAS checked a total of 520 thousand pieces of toys, of which more than 361 thousand, i.e. approx. 69%, did not meet the requirements (including formal ones).

In 2020, it was over 136 thousand pieces, of which nearly 115 thousand did not meet the requirements. In 2019, over 863 thousand pieces of toys were checked, of which nearly 857 thousand was found to be dangerous. In 2018, over 596 thousand pieces were checked, of which as many as 595 thousand did not meet the requirements.

Activities of IH and UOKiK on the toy market

From January to April 2021,   90 samples were tested, of which 18 (20%) were questioned. A year earlier, 156 samples were tested, of which 36 were questioned (approx. 23%). In 2019, out of 122 samples tested, 22 did not meet the requirements (approx. 18%). In 2018, 171 samples were tested, of which 46 (approx. 27%) were questioned.

In total, over the period of four years (2018 – 30 April 2021), UOKiK's laboratory tested 549 samples collected on the market by IH inspecting officers, finding exceeded allowable phthalate concentrations in 122 of them (approx. 22%).

We encourage you to participate in our free webinar for entrepreneurs and buyers: "Be CErtain of toy safety" during which we will talk with UOKiK's experts about the most commonly detected irregularities on the toy market and obligations of entrepreneurs with regard to the sale of products for toddlers, as well as advise the consumers on how to buy them safely. The meeting will be broadcast on the official YouTube channel of UOKiK.

Consumer assistance: 

Tel. 801 440 220 or 22 290 89 16 – consumer helpline
 email: [SCODE]cG9yYWR5QGRsYWtvbnN1bWVudG93LnBs[ECODE]
Consumer advocates – in your town or district

Additional information for the media:

UOKiK Press Office
Pl. Powstańców Warszawy 1, 00-950 Warszawa, Poland
Phone +48 695 902 088, +48 22 55 60 246
E-mail: [SCODE]Yml1cm9wcmFzb3dlQHVva2lrLmdvdi5wbA==[ECODE]
Twitter: @UOKiKgovPL

Attached files

 

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