General Court of the European Union: Decision on German limit values for chemicals in toys
The General Court of the European Union (T-198/12) ruled yesterday on the action of the Federal Republic of German against the limit values for chemicals which have been in force since 20.07.2013 on the basis of the new EC Toy Directive 2009/48/EC. Germany wanted to retain (allegedly stricter) limit values for individual heavy metals (including arsenic, mercury, antimony) which are different to those laid down in the Directive. Germany has to a large extent lost this case. Our product liability expert Dr Arun Kapoor commented as follows in this respect: “Many people in the industry were surprised that the federal government with its national limit values was putting stumbling blocks in the path of the German toys industry with respect to European trade. National limit values are of no use to anyone in a harmonized European market. They only damage the German toys industry, which sees its products exposed to different limit values in its main sales market than those in neighbouring European countries.” The Court held that, if converted appropriately, the European limit values for the heavy metals arsenic, mercury and antimony are in fact stricter than those on which German was insisting.
“It remains to be hoped that this dispute has now come to an end. The toys industry can then concentrate on complying with uniform Europe-wide limit values for its products. It should be spared from having to comply with national special regulations.”
Press Release General Court of the European Union