BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) — The EU plans to increase toy safety, banning those that contain chemicals that can cause cancer or genetic change from the 27-nation bloc.
The European Union also wants to exclude toys that have higher than permitted levels of lead or mercury, according to plans presented Friday by the European Commission.
Under the plans, toys directly linked to sweets or other food would also be banned to prevent children from swallowing the toys, and product checks would become more stringent.
The plans must be approved by all 27 EU member states as well as the European Parliament before they can take effect.
''We will never have 100-percent safety, not even in case of toys ... but producers must meet all safety requirements,'' EU Industry Commissioner Guenther Verheugen said, calling for criminal sanctions against manufacturers and importers flouting common EU standards.
EU officials reviewed safety controls across the union in September after millions of Chinese-made toys were recalled.
Concerns over toy safety have remained high since the U.S. company Mattel Inc. last year ordered recalls of more than 21 million Chinese-made toys, including Barbie doll accessories and toy cars, because of concerns about lead paint and tiny magnets that could be swallowed.
Verheugen said the legislation presented Friday had been drafted over the past three years, and was not directly linked to the recalls.