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Newsletter

2015 - Ed. 1

ANEC Work Programme 2015 online

The annual ANEC Work Programme sets out the activities ANEC plans to undertake in 2015. A detailed programme was prepared last summer in answer to the Commission’s public call for proposals for the future representation of the European consumer voice in standardisation.

A summary of the Work Programme 2015 has now been published online and is available here. It lists more detailed areas of activity under seven sectoral priority areas – Child Safety, Design for All, Domestic Appliances, Information Society, Services, Sustainability and Traffic – as well as under the horizontal area of Policy.

ANEC welcomes standard for domestic trampolines

ANEC welcomed the publication on 17 December 2014 of EN 71-14:2014 ‘Safety of toys - Part 14: Trampolines for domestic use’. Considering the number of accidents caused by domestic trampolines (e.g. 7.000 children were injured in Sweden in 2008), there was an urgent need to develop a standard for trampolines used in private gardens. ANEC followed its drafting and sent detailed comments during the Enquiry stage.

Despite the publication of EN 71-14, we believe an immediate revision of the standard is needed to address remaining issues, such as in-ground trampolines.

CEN Report fails to address risk from hoods

CEN/TR 16792:2014 ‘Safety of children's clothing - Recommendations for the design and manufacture of children's clothing - Mechanical safety’ was published on 17 December 2014. Regrettably, the standard fails to address the risk from hoods, despite ANEC being supported by several national delegations in its requests made during drafting of the standard. Hoods can pose a strangulation risk when children climb trees or use playground equipment. Despite evidence of accidents in Sweden, Denmark and Iceland, CEN TC 248 WG20 was of the opinion that hoods did not need to be addressed because of the absence of detailed accident data.

ANEC does not believe the absence of accident data means a low level of risk. A preventive approach should be taken. A Technical Report comprises no more than a series of recommendations and information on best practice and does not include requirements. Hence, we regret the risk of a child becoming caught in a hood was not even addressed as a recommendation in this Technical Report. 

Smart & Sustainable Cities and Communities

At the end of last year, the CEN-CENELEC-ETSI Smart & Sustainable Cities and Communities Coordination Group (SSCC-CG) finalised its report as a first overview of standardisation issues at European level. The SSCC-CG was established in 2012 to coordinate standardisation activities on smart & sustainable cities and communities in Europe.

ANEC commented several times on the draft report and its recommendations, which were out for approval in the CEN & CENELEC Technical Boards. The report was approved by the CEN Technical Board. We are pleased to see many of our contributions taken into account. We supported the approval of the final report.

EC consultation on patents & standards

From a consumer perspective, the issue of patents in standards is linked to the issue of interoperability of products and services. Software, in particular, is dependent on its capacity to communicate with other programs and applications in order to benefit consumers. Lack of software interoperability can have adverse impacts on consumers, such as high costs, inability to switch devices, “lock-in” effects, etc.

ANEC welcomed the chance to contribute to the public consultation of the on “Patents and Standards: A modern framework for standardisation involving intellectual property rights”. We provided answers only to the questions we considered relevant for consumers. We stressed that, although it is important to ensure patents in standards do not constitute an obstacle to interoperability, it is as important for policymakers to enforce competition rules.

Patent policies in standardisation must balance the incentive to develop standards for new products and services with the incentive to invest in Research and Development (R&D). ANEC believes a clear definition of FRAND terms ("Fair, Reasonable, And Non-Discriminatory") - based on the present practice and jurisprudence - may help reach a common understanding of the rights and obligations of patent owners in the standardisation process.

ANEC says no to endocrine disrupting chemicals

ANEC responded to the public consultation on defining criteria for identifying endocrine disruptors (EDCs) launched by the European Commission. The consultation is part of an impact assessment in the context of the implementation of the Plant Protection Products Regulation and the Biocidal Products Regulation. The Commission roadmap on endocrine disruptors provides background information to this consultation and presents the policy options being assessed.

In our response, we supported an option that would broaden the WHO/IPCS definition to identify endocrine disruptors, with the introduction of two additional categories based on the different strength of evidence (such as suspected and potential EDCs). This approach is in line with current classifications (Carcinogenic, Mutagenic or toxic for Reproduction – CMR–categories 1A, 1B, and 2) which have shown their usefulness in practice. The categorisation system, including the corresponding criteria, will need to be used in all appropriate legislation, such as REACH, CLP and product regulation.

The ANEC response was also made available on the website of the “EDC-Free Europe” coalition that launched the campaign “Say NO to hormone disrupting chemicals” in parallel with the consultation. HEAL has launched an EDC-free Europe coalition, also in parallel.

Austrian member looks further into chemical requirements

In December 2014, the Consumer Council of the Austrian Standards Institute (ASI-CC) published a study screening chemical requirements in articles not yet covered by previous studies by the Consumer Council. In particular, the study "Chemical requirements for other articles" investigates: furniture (including mattresses), hygiene products, paper products, leather products and softened plastic products. The report identifies possible chemical contaminants and reviews existing rules (regulatory and voluntary) for these products. Some recommendations are given as to which substances could be addressed in regulation and standards.

The study follows a series of five studies on the regulatory gaps in tackling hazardous chemicals in consumer products, including two developing further on the chemical requirements for toys and more recently on “Chemical requirements for child use and care articles”. The latter study – published in November - included products to ensure and facilitate safe seating, bathing, changing and general body care, feeding, sleeping, sucking, dressing, transportation and protection of children.

All reports - conducted by FORCE Technology - are available on the website of ASI Consumer Council.

The evidence brought forward by the ASI-CC research continues to be central in the development of ANEC positions and activities in this critical area of product safety.

Future market surveillance actions

In December, ANEC was again invited by PROSAFE - the Product Safety Enforcement Forum of Europe - to contribute to its priority setting exercise for future joint market surveillance actions. ANEC submitted its contribution in mid-January, indicating the following priorities: child care articles, toys, lighters, music players, tattoo inks, button batteries, surface temperatures of electrical household appliances, counterfeit child restraint systems, overheating mobile phones and chargers, mini (off road) motorbikes and energy labelling of tyres. PROSAFE will carry out a more formal priority setting exercise and propose a short list of products early in the New Year.

Herdis Storgaard - Order of the Falcon

Herdis Storgaard receives the Order of the FalconOn New Year’s Day, Herdis Storgaard received the ‘Order of the Falcon’ from Icelandic President, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson. The award was made to Herdis - a long-standing member of the ANEC Child Safety WG - in recognition of her pioneering work in child safety & accident prevention. All in ANEC warmly congratulate Herdis.

The Order of the Falcon is a national order of Iceland. It may be awarded to both Icelanders and citizens of other countries for achievements in Iceland or internationally. The President of Iceland invests Icelandic citizens with the Order twice a year: on 1 January and 17 June.

 

In memory of Alan Bent

Alan BentIt was with shock and deep sadness that we learned of the passing of Alan Bent on 23 December 2014. He was 66 years old.

Alan joined the BSI Consumer & Public Interest Network in 2009 and worked as a consumer representative in the BSI nanotechnology committee. He was also involved in ISO/COPOLCO, was an active member of the ANEC Project Team on Chemicals and, previously, the ANEC Project Team on Nanotechnology.

He was particularly involved in the drafting of ISO/TS 13830:2013 “Nanotechnologies -- Guidance on voluntary labelling for consumer products containing manufactured nano-objects”. Until recently, Alan also served as Project Leader for the work on ISO/TR 18401 to present a plain language guide to some of the core terms used in nanotechnology standards.

ANEC was privileged to have Alan as one of its experts and friends. We shall miss him. Our thoughts go to his family and friends.

 

List of comments 2015  List of meetings 2015 

For comments or if you wish to write an article for the ANEC Newsletter, please contact: Kristina Aleksandrova (kal@anec.eu).

ANEC is supported by the European Commission and EFTA.

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