EU/D – A verdict has been reached in the conflict between Germany and the EU concerning the threshold values for the implementation of heavy metals in children’s toys. According to the verdict, the Federal Republic will have to change its threshold values for heavy metals such as mercury or arsenic in toys in line with EU legislation. Germany had argumented that their own upper limits offered children better protection than the European provisions and was thus not prepared to accept the threshold values of the EU toy guidelines of 2009.
The judges in Luxembourg saw the situation differently: The EU values are mostly stricter than the German values, if one compares the different basis of assessment. According to the court, the German values are based on the so-called bio-availability and thus describe the maximum amount of a chemical substance that is allowed to penetrate the human body while playing. Here, uniform values apply for a contaminant regardless of its physical state – solid, liquid or dust. Based on the data comparison, according to the court the translated German threshold values for “liquid, adhesive, dry, brittle, dusty or supple materials” is clearly higher than those of the EU values. Only the German threshold values for “abraded materials” are stricter, whereby abraded material is less readily available to children than dry or liquid material.