2014 - Ed. 3
Draft EU Work Programme for Standardisation
In March, ANEC expressed preliminary views on the Draft Annual Union Work Programme for European Standardisation in a position paper sent to DG Enterprise & Industry.
Our broad comments focus on EC activities related to the participation of societal stakeholders in standardisation, and the financing of European consumer representation in standardisation beyond 2014. We also commented on several of the strategic priorities outlined in the Communication: the standardisation of construction works; smart grids, smart metering & smart cities; the safety of consumer products; accessibility to all, and the standardisation of services.
Our comments on the Final Draft of the EC proposed outline for the Rolling Plan for ICT Standardisation were annexed to the position paper.
ANEC & CI against amendment to ISO standard for toys
ANEC and Consumers International (CI) are lobbying against adoption of an amendment to the International Standard for toys - dealing with toy projectiles, rotors and propellers - as it does not address suffocation risks presented by darts with shafts made from foam.
The final draft of an amendment (FDAM) to ISO 8124-1 “Safety of Toys – Part 1: Safety aspects related to mechanical and physical properties” – Amendment 1: projectiles, rotors and propellers” is submitted to vote in ISO until 13 May 2014.
In 2012, ANEC and CI submitted comments on the draft amendment, but our comments concerning suffocation risks presented by these darts were not accepted and the toys are now exempt from the FDAM. The ISO committee for toys based this exemption on a lack of incident data for such projectiles. Toy manufacturers claim hundreds of millions of the darts have been sold without the toy appearing in accident & injury statistics relating to asphyxiation. We believe the lack of accident statistics – now routinely collected in only a very few countries – does not equate to a low level of risk. The emphasis should be on preventive actions, rather than corrective actions after accidents have happened.
ANEC welcomes actions on chemicals in textiles
ANEC participated in the kick-off meeting of the Prosafe Joint Action on Chemicals in Textiles on 25 March. This market surveillance action focuses on chemicals in garments, shoes, accessories and - in particular – children’s clothes. We welcome this initiative in light of our call for legal requirements to be set for chemicals in textiles (among other consumer products). Michela Vuerich described ANEC activities and the thinking behind our request for legislation. We also welcome use of the OekoTex 100 standard as one of the reference document for the joint action.
Ecodesign & Energy Labelling market surveillance
Over the past several years, a number of EU projects with a focus on aspects of market surveillance activities have taken place. The activities concerned have ranged from analysing legislation and the level of market surveillance activities, to performing product testing and visiting individual shops.
A recent publication summarises the findings and recommendations of the ATLETE, ATLETE II, Come On Labels, and Ecopliant projects. The ATLETE project tested 80 refrigerating appliances, while ATLETE II tested 50 washing machines. The Come On Labels project looked into the implementation of EU Energy labelling rules at both national and European level through 900 shop visits, while Ecopliant brought together market surveillance authorities and national agencies.
MEPs back the introduction of a universal charger
At its March plenary meeting, the European Parliament voted to make the interoperability of mobile phones, and other devices, with universal chargers an essential requirement of the radio equipment directive (RED).
ANEC welcomed this decision in a press release. Secretary-General, Stephen Russell, commented, “The decision by MEPs to favour a universal charger will reduce waste and should help consumers save money”.
MEP also supported the possibility to require manufacturers to register products showing low levels of compliance in a central system prior to placing them on the market. Another improvement introduced by the EP is that the review of the operation of the Directive by the Commission will cover consumer protection, and not only the creation of an open and competitive market for radio equipment in the EU. Finally, we are particularly pleased that our proposal to refer to the “foreseeable behaviour” of consumers was reflected in the directive. Consumers can be protected effectively only if foreseeable behaviours are taken into account by manufacturers in the design of products.
ANEC on smart metering
On 25 March, ANEC participated in a panel on sustainable growth at the EC Conference on the Rolling Plan for ICT Standardisation.
In her presentation, ANEC Senior Manager, Chiara Giovannini, addressed the challenges consumers face in smart metering systems and smart cities. She highlighted the need for an accessible interface between the smart meter and the consumer which provides usable information to help consumers participate in the energy market. She also drew attention to safeguarding vulnerable consumers in the energy market, and called for data protection and privacy to be ensured at all times.
The Rolling Plan on ICT Standardisation was published earlier in the year and provides a multi-annual overview of the needs for ICT standardisation activities to support EU policy objectives. ANEC contributed to the drafting of the Rolling Plan.
UNECE adopts WLTP
On 13 March, UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) adopted the Worldwide Harmonised Light-duty Test Procedures (WLTP). ANEC welcomed the adoption of the procedure in a press release.
The WLTP test cycle will be used for measuring the fuel consumption, the CO2 emissions, and other aspects of passenger cars, vans and vehicles less than 3.5 tons. The test cycle is the result of five years of work and responds to criticism that existing measures of fuel efficiency and emissions do not reflect real-world driving conditions.
UNECE also adopted an ANEC/CI proposal to allow belted infant carriers to be exempted from the ban on belted use of i-Size Child Restraint Systems (CRS).
Barriers removed for the implementation of R 129 (i-size CRS)
R 129 – the i-Size Regulation – for Child Restraint Systems came into force on 9 July 2013. However, there was confusion regarding the use of i-size CRS as the Seat Belt Wearing Directive (91/671/CEE) allowed only CRS approved to the previous R 44-03 series. ANEC welcomes a prompt revision of the Directive to make reference to the new Regulation. It was published on 28 February 2014, with Member States given six months to implement the revised Directive. Consumers should not experience problems using R 129-approved CRS during the transitional period.
New legislation on noise levels of PMPs in Korea
The Republic of Korea has announced a regulation that limits the maximum permissible noise levels for portable music players to 100 dB. The products will be tested against the Korean standard, KSC 5503 Annex I, ‘Mini headphones and earphones’, equivalent to EN 50332.
ANEC welcomes the application of these European principles in South Korea. Introducing safe sound pressure limits in standards for Personal Music Players (and similar devices) has been a key priority for us and a success story. The listening habits of young people, and ability of older PMPs to generate sound pressures to 120dB, had placed up to 10 million users in Europe at risk of permanent hearing damage within 5 years.
Herdis Storgaard is a ‘Woman of the Year’
On International Woman’s Day (8 March 2014), ANEC expert, Herdis Storgaard, received a "Woman of the Year" award in Reykjavik. The award was made in recognition of her pioneering work on child safety in Iceland, which has helped lead to a 65% fall in deaths by drowning among children over the past 20 years. All in ANEC warmly congratulate Herdis on her award.
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