Home The European consumer voice in standardisation.
 

Number 94 – February 2008

Horizontal issues | Child safety | Design for All | Domestic Appliances & Design for AllDomestic Appliances & Environment | Environment | Information society & Design for AllInformation society | Services | Traffic safetyNews from other organisations | Miscellaneous

ANEC’s concerns for revised Toy Safety Directive

ANEC and BEUC can offer a cautious welcome to the Commission proposal for a revised Toy Safety Directive, adopted on 25 January 2008. Consumer organisations across Europe have been calling for the Directive to be updated to reflect development in the design and manufacture of toys over the past 20 years.

However, we see several important deficiencies in the proposal. There is a need for more stringent and clear chemical requirements; we regret that the precautionary principle has not been included as a basic principle of the Directive; and we would like to have seen more flexibility introduced in order to allow the Directive to be adapted quickly to emerging risks. Furthermore, we are very disappointed to see CE Marking maintained without real change. Consumers believe CE Marking to be a safety label when it is no such thing. We want CE Marking to appear solely in the technical documentation meant for market surveillance authorities and for it to not be placed on the toys themselves or the packaging. We also regret that the introduction of requirements for toys in food will only address a small part of the problem. Most of these products will still be allowed on the market. See more information under Child Safety.

Consumers call for dynamic EU energy labelling scheme

The European Commission’s DG TREN (Transport and Energy), recently launched a public consultation on the revision of the Energy Labelling Directive. In its contribution, ANEC noted that the familiar format of the energy label with A-G colour bar ratings has achieved a high recognition by consumers and that it must therefore be retained as the basis for consumer information. Although we understand the wish to update the labelling scheme, such updating must not confuse consumers.

ANEC advocated the use of measures to increase the accuracy of testing and the accuracy of information declared on labels. The presently permitted 15% tolerance in applicable test standards is unacceptable and should be significantly reduced. Further, market surveillance by the Member States should be considerably strengthened through collective European action to ensure that the scheme delivers tangible results. It is very important to ensure that test methods are based on typical consumer use of products; otherwise intended energy savings will not be achieved in practice. Continued on p8.

Horizontal Issues

European Parliament plenary adopts the Internal Market Package

Even seasoned observers were surprised at the decision of the Parliament to adopt the Internal Market Package (alias the New Legislative Framework, alias the Review of the New Approach) at its First Reading on 21 February 2008. The adoption was not expected until the second-half of the year. Instead, it will now go for co-decision of the Council under the Slovenian Presidency. The expected date of implementation is 1 January 2010.

As reported in the previous ANEC Newsletter (Number 93, December 2007), the Package extends the principles of the New Approach (high level legislation with reference to European Standards, supported by a prescribed model of conformity assessment) to most product areas and makes it the preferred template for all future European product legislation. CE Marking is confirmed, with Parliament believing it important for European consumers to be educated about the meaning of CE Marking. The decision also prescribes limited measures to strengthen market surveillance and inspection at European frontiers.

Although the decision not to make the New Approach principles automatic in their application to new product legislation represents a win for ANEC (and BEUC), we are dismayed to see CE Marking emerge unscathed. Moreover, a campaign to educate consumers about CE Marking (when the mark is designed for inspection authorities and has no meaning for consumers) sounds dangerously close to the proposal of DG Enterprise last year for CE Marking to be promoted as a ‘mark of reassurance to consumers’. As reported below, some in the Commission believe CE Marking means ‘safety’ when it means no such thing on consumer products.

ANEC Secretary-General, Stephen Russell, remarked: ‘This adoption is a defeat for those who of us wanted the Package to deliver higher levels of protection to consumers. Enforcement of the measures is reliant on effective national market surveillance and inspection and we know resources for such activities have been cut in many Member States in recent years. More than ever, consumers will need to know that CE Marking means Caveat Emptor (‘let the buyer beware’)”.

Goodbye novelty lighters from 11 March

From 11 March 2008, non child-resistant lighters and novelty lighters will be banned from the European market and will no longer be able to be sold to consumers, following a Commission Decision from 2006.

Lighter in the shape of a toy carPress reports and studies show that, in the EU, misuse of cigarette lighters during play by young children causes a significant number of serious fire accidents. It is estimated that between 1500 and 1900 injuries and 34 to 40 fatalities per year in the EU are due to fire-related accidents caused by children playing with lighters. Child-resistance mechanisms exist to prevent such accidents, and their use has been mandatory in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand for some 10 years. The introduction of child-resistance requirements in the US brought about a 60% reduction in the number of such accidents.

ANEC welcomes the initiative to fit all lighters with childproof devices and to remove from the market unsafe products like non-child resistant lighters and novelty lighters, many of which have been produced in China.
Market surveillance is now crucial in ensuring that the European ban is enforced and that industry respects the Commission Decision.

ANEC RepNet meets in Brussels

ANEC Representatives and Secretariat staffOn 29 January 2008, the ANEC Secretariat held a networking event for ANEC representatives, attended by about 30 representatives of varied backgrounds and experience. The agenda included a presentation by the Secretary-General on the development of an ANEC Strategy for the years 2008-2013; an exchange among attendees of contemporary problems and challenges in representing the consumer view effectively; and training on more effective communication skills. The online version of the ANEC monitoring database was also demonstrated. The event proved very constructive and useful for both the ANEC representatives and members of the ANEC Secretariat.


CE Marking symposium

ANEC attended a CE Marking symposium in The Hague on 14 and 15 February 2008, organised by the Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority of the Netherlands (VWA). The recent review of the New Approach Directives and the continuation of CE marking within these directives offered an opportunity to look at the future of this system. ‘Can we rely on the CE system?’ was the starting point for the debate. In its introduction, VWA concluded it cannot be relied upon. This scepticism was supported by the Notified Bodies present who added that the present system is easy to abuse. On the other hand, the European Commission said it believed consumers can rely on the system and added that CE stands for safety. ANEC highlighted the confusion surrounding CE Marking, and reminded the symposium that CE Marking had never been intended to advise or inform consumers. ANEC added, if one followed the Commission view that CE stands for safety, a toy bed for a doll, which has to be CE marked, would be ‘safer’ than a baby’s bed, which is not allowed to be CE marked. ANEC concluded there was no case made during the symposium for an added value to CE Marking.


MEET THE NEW GA

This section brings national members from ANEC’s General Assembly into the spotlight.

Sorin Mierlea, Romania

Sorin MierleaPlease describe consumer participation in standardisation in Romania.
As in other Eastern European countries, consumer participation in Romania is limited to a certain extent. The transition from a centralised economy to a market economy has been slow and sometimes difficult. The national standardisation body representing Romania in the process of European and international standardisation is ASRO – Romanian Standards Association. The cooperation between the consumer protection organisations and ASRO has improved but we consider it should be more concentrated on consumers’ needs and interests. We believe that standardisation is one of the most powerful tools to meet consumers’ basic needs in terms of quality of goods and services because it offers solutions in a common language for consumers from all Member States.

We trust the Romanian culture will continue to evolve in support of standards as a tool to ensure quality goods and services for consumers.

What maintains your motivation as a consumer champion in standardisation?
I wouldn’t call myself “a consumer champion in standardisation”, but what keeps us going in all our activities is to see that Romanian consumers begin to change their approach from passive to active European consumers.

The greatest reward is to see that our information and education campaigns are reaching their target and people are developing a sense of their legitimate rights as consumers as consequence. Their expectations of companies trading on the Romanian market are now much higher.

And finally, what is your favourite European Standard, and why?
We believe all European Standards are important. It’s difficult to choose just one but I am rather fond of those regarding child safety. It’s extremely important to look after children’s well being because they are the ones who need our help and protection the most. They cannot fight for their rights and they are the most vulnerable category of consumers.

Child Safety

Commission proposal for a revised Toy Safety Directive: key points from the consumer perspective

Toys(Continued from top page, article 1) On 25 January 2008, the Commission launched its proposal for a revised Toy Safety Directive. ANEC and BEUC issued press releases before and after the launch of the proposal. We believe it unacceptable for a toy to contain dangerous chemical substances. We want a total ban on substances that are carcinogenic, mutagenic or reprotoxic in toys. The same prohibition should apply to endocrine disruptors and allergens. Although the Commission proposal contains a prohibition of CMRs (substances which are carcinogenic, mutagenic or reprotoxic) it only refers to the accessible parts of toys, and foresees exceptions which would make it easy to get around this prohibition. Furthermore, there are no measures foreseen for other problematic substances, such as endocrine disruptors.

Secondly, we consider that the list of allergens to be prohibited in toys is not exhaustive; it only covers some fragrances, despite the fact that many other substances can also provoke allergies. The precautionary principle is essential in this area: Given that there is insufficient data on the risks posed to children, and that they are an especially vulnerable group, the only acceptable solution is to introduce the precautionary principle into the Directive.

We also believe third party conformity assessment should be mandatory for certain toys - for example, toys for children aged under three years; toys that present an element of risk which cannot be eliminated (such as toy irons that heat up), or toys that have been known to cause serious accidents (such as toys containing magnets). The current system of CE Marking on toys (affixed by producers without any third-party verification) is not a guarantee of safety.

Warning labels should only be complementary to strict security measures. To be meaningful, the warnings should catch the buyer’s attention, and be present on both the toy and its packaging. They should always give information on both the danger of the toy itself and the risks related to its use. Finally, it is essential to have strict requirements for toys in food. In many countries, including the United States, it is now forbidden to put toys in boxes of cereal or in chocolates.

The proposal from the Commission will now go to co-decision procedure in the European Parliament and Council.

More information is available at http://www.anec.eu/attachments/ANEC-PR-2008-PRL-001.pdf  and http://www.anec.eu/attachments/ANEC-PR-2008-PRL-002.pdf


Commission Decision on magnetic toys

On 28 February 2008, Member States voted in favour of the Commission decision to impose a mandatory warning on all magnetic toys. Magnetic toys pose a risk to the health and safety of children if they are made from, or contain, small but often powerful magnetic pieces. If more than one piece is swallowed, the magnetic pieces can be attracted to each other and cause twisted/knotted intestines, intestinal perforation or blockage. All can be fatal.

Children under and over three years of age have had to undergo surgery, and one fatality has been reported in the US. Accidents have been reported from all over the world and have involved children from 1 year to 12 years of age. The risks arising from children swallowing small toy magnets have been known since 2002 and were brought to the attention of the Commission by the Swedish and French authorities as early as 2006. In a letter to the Commission in early 2007, consumer organisations called for immediate action to be taken by the Commission. ANEC therefore does not consider the Commission Decision to be an “emergency measure”.

In a press statement, ANEC repeated its call for a complete ban on the use of strong magnets in toys until a proper safety standard is defined and implemented on the market. Although warnings are better than nothing, they do not provide sufficient protection for our children. Moreover, the decision does not cover other items intended for children such as clothes or fashion jewellery, also known to have caused accidents.


Revised standards for changing units and cots adopted

Changing unitThe revised draft standards prEN 12221 REVIEW for Changing units, Parts 1 and 2, were submitted to Formal Vote until 15 January 2008. ANEC lobbied for the adoption of the standards. Both standards were adopted.

As we mentioned in our last newsletter, the revised draft standards prEN 716-1 REVIEW "Furniture – Children’s cots and folding cots for domestic use – Part 1: Safety requirements" and prEN 716-2 REVIEW "Furniture – Children’s cots and folding cots for domestic use – Part 2: Test methods" were submitted to Formal Vote until 25 December 2007. ANEC believed both drafts to be unacceptable and lobbied against adoption. ANEC is disappointed that the voting result was nevertheless positive and both standards were adopted. There is insufficient cover in prEN716 for accessories and multi-use products, which has been highlighted by a recent fatality in the UK with a folding cot (travel cot) and bassinet. There are also major hazards associated with the use of changing units on cots. The scope covers cots only, although the title is cots and folding cots. Finally, hazards associated with the use of non-domestic cots (for instance, those used in day care centres) are not taken into account.

European enforcement project confirms findings of ANEC research on window locking devices

The results of a European joint enforcement project “Childproof non-integrated locking devices for windows and balcony doors” were presented at the January 2008 meeting of the Consumer Safety Network. The requirements developed in the ANEC research study were taken as the starting point for the project and were adopted with a few minor modifications (e.g. to include new requirements from the toys standard). A child panel test was done with 40 children. As a conclusion, the project demonstrated that the test method originally developed by ANEC seems to give a sufficient safety level. Furthermore the test method seems to be feasible for manufacturers and authorities. The joint project group proposed that the Commission issues a mandate to CEN to develop a standard, and that the work could be taken on board by CEN BT WG 184 “Child protective products”. ANEC fully supported the recommendations of the joint project group.

Design for All

ANEC supports creation of CEN/BT Working Group "Accessibility for All’

This CEN/BT proposed decision, which is tabled at the BT/TCMG meeting on 6 March 2008, is a follow up to an ANEC and Dutch national standards body (NEN) presentation at the CEN/BT October 2007 meeting on the implementation mechanism of CEN/CENELEC Guide 6 ‘Guidelines for standards developers to address the needs of older persons and persons with disabilities’.

ANEC and NEN expressed concern at the lack of use of CEN/CENELEC Guide 6 by CEN Technical Committees and proposed to establish an improved mechanism through which CEN technical bodies can be provided with the help and expertise needed to comply with the requirements of older and disabled people. ANEC also called on CEN, CENELEC and ETSI, and the European Commission to take action to provide Technical Committees with the specialist knowledge needed to meet the requirements of older and disabled people.

ANEC supports the creation of a CEN/CENELEC/BT WG ‘Accessibility for All’ comprising an advisory committee and pool of experts able to help the CEN and CENELEC technical bodies implement CEN/CENELEC Guide 6, but we consider a further mechanism is needed to ensure compliance with the Guide.

ANEC attends CEN TC 261 WG 2 Packaging – Ease of opening

Packaging (Source: Yahoo)ANEC representative Meg Galley attended the CEN/TC 261 WG 2 meeting in Baden, Austria dealing with draft standard ‘Packaging - Ease of opening - Criteria and test method for evaluating consumer packages’. A discussion took place on the kind of testing to be used, as there was a counter-proposal from Germany suggesting that a better way forward was to develop mechanical test methods rather than use human panel testing. Participants agreed that mechanical tests are appropriate for quality control but there is a poor correlation between user-reported ease of use and the results from mechanical tests. In general, the ease of opening of packaging is about both the physical aspects and the perception of the packs. It was also reported that mechanical tests done on mainstream packaging proved it is only possible to measure some aspects of opening a package and not the whole process.

ANEC proposed that the reasons for some packaging being easier to open than others needed to be identified. However, the whole process is complex and involves a combination of opening techniques. It was agreed the TC would rewrite the section on evaluation of results, including use of sequential testing, before the next meeting in May 2008.

Domestic Appliances & Design for All

Meeting of CENELEC TC 61 WG 4

ANEC participated in a meeting of CENELEC TC 61 WG 4 held on 14 and 15 February 2008. A useful discussion was held on the problem of fires involving cookers. It was agreed that action needs to be taken and a proposal requiring a maximum pan temperature limit and time-out feature will be developed by the convenor for further discussion within WG 4.

A particularly important discussion for ANEC was on surface temperatures of handles, knobs and similar in the standard for irons. Although CENELEC Guide 29 on surface temperatures does not address such product parts, WG 4 had been proceeding on an interpretation of Guide 29 that was close to the ANEC objectives. But regrettably, the Convenor believed temperature limits should be defined case by case and was against the implementation of a single, horizontal solution in the Part 1 standard. The next meeting of CENELEC TC 61 WG 4 will be held on 17 June 2008 and will concentrate again on surface temperatures.

Domestic Appliances & Environment

Consumers call for dynamic EU energy labelling scheme

(Continued from top page, article 2) ANEC attended a stakeholder consultation meeting organised by the European Commission on 8 February 2008 in Brussels. The aim of the meeting was to discuss various options proposed by the Commission in its consultation document, including the extension of the energy labelling scheme to other products, making the scheme more dynamic through periodic reviews, and ensuring better enforcement of the scheme.

ANEC supported extension of the labelling scheme to additional appliances and to certain non-energy-using products such as windows, with most participants agreeing to such an extension. It was also agreed that the label should not be made into a more general eco-design label. Other points supported by most participants were that information on CO2 emissions and on annual running costs should not be included on the label, but that information on the functional performance of an appliance should be communicated where relevant (e.g. the washing cycles of dishwashers). Many countries also supported ANEC and BEUC’s call for significantly reduced tolerances in the measurement standards.

Energy label on a washing machineThe final part of the meeting concentrated on discussing the design or layout of the label itself, with CECED proposing a new layout based on a colour-coded but numerical scale, which would move up as products become more energy-efficient. ANEC and BEUC, amongst other participants, criticised the proposal, arguing that having a product labelled 7 or 8 as the best in class could be misinterpreted by consumers used to seeing ‘A’ as the best. Environmental NGOs also questioned the proposal, noting that having a yellow-coloured ‘7’ for one product, but a green ‘7’ for another could also lead to confusion.

ANEC will take part in an ad hoc Working Group of stakeholders which will meet on 10 March 2008 to discuss further the future layout of the label.

More information is available at http://www.anec.eu/attachments/ANEC-ENV-2008-G-001final.pdf  

Environment

ANEC attends CEN TC 350 ‘Sustainability of construction works’ WG 3 meeting

ANEC representative Guido Hoff participated in the 9th meeting of WG 3 ‘Product level’ in Berlin on 10-11 January 2008. The aim of the meeting was to finalise the draft standard on ‘product category rules’ for (public) Enquiry. ANEC reiterated previous comments, in particular that the chapter on additional environmental information had not been dealt with sufficiently, and that in our view all relevant information was to be incorporated, not only LCA-based indicators. Unfortunately due to the industry’s common view, the chapter on additional environmental information was deleted from the document. This was strongly objected to by ANEC, and some national representatives, as this means a reduction of the environmental product declaration to a set of core indicators based on life-cycle assessment data, which are not appropriate for differentiation of environmental performance. ANEC argued the document would now be fall below requirements of the related ISO standards. ANEC also expressed concerns regarding the lack of information on chemical content and on the release of dangerous substances into indoor air.

ANEC will comment on the draft standard once it is published for Enquiry.

ANEC and ECOS question draft CEN Environmental Policy document

ANEC and ECOS issued joint comments in February 2008 on the draft CEN environmental policy document proposed by the CEN Environmental Helpdesk (EHD). The document was meant to be a combination of the "CEN approach to address environmental issues in product and service standards", prepared by the CEN SABE ENIS group, and the draft CEN environmental policy prepared by the EHD. However, the proposed document is almost solely based on the EHD document and thus lacks the more substantive requirements in, and the more democratic process behind, the ENIS document.

ANEC and ECOS regretted that the current draft is missing requirements such as making (draft) standards available to stakeholders, and reviewing standards by external consultants and environmental experts. Also, although ANEC and ECOS welcomed the provisions regarding a mandatory review of business plans and New Work Items in order to address (or not) the environmental dimension, we regretted that no body is made responsible for reviewing this process and its results. ANEC and ECOS also stressed that priority-setting should not be based on the 6th European Environmental Action Programme alone as this programme is aimed at policy-making rather than standardisation, and does not identify specific targets. Finally, ANEC and ECOS asked for the results of a CEN SABE Task Force on potential mandatory elements (to address environmental issues in standardisation) to be incorporated in the document.

ANEC sets up EuP Project Team and comments on draft EuP implementing measures

In the context of a Commission-financed consortium project to ensure consumer representation in the implementation of the Eco-design of Energy-using Products Directive (2005/32/EC), ANEC set up an Energy-using Products (EuP) Project Team in February 2008. Within the next three years, the group will focus on identifying and elaborating consumer requirements for 25 energy-using product groups such as vacuum cleaners, set-top boxes or boilers and water heaters. The work will be done in collaboration with the Öko-Institut (Germany), International Consumer Research & Testing (ICRT), and the Copenhagen Business School which will provide the technical expertise, data and studies to support the consumer views.

Charger (Source: Google)In February, the Commission proposed draft eco-design requirements for external power supplies, simple set-top boxes, boilers and water heaters. ANEC supported the proposals for eco-design requirements and elaborated a consumer position on each product group. The positions were voiced by ANEC at the Commission Eco-design Stakeholder Forum meetings which took place on 22 and 29 February 2008 in Brussels.

ANEC stressed the need to standardise interfaces for external power supplies and called on the Commission to include a mandate to the European Standards Organisations in the draft implementing measure. For consumers, it is very costly and impractical when a separate battery charger or external power supply is needed for each end-appliance, such as mobile phones. The standardisation of interfaces for external power supplies could deliver considerable benefits to consumers.

With regard to simple set-top boxes, ANEC called for a simple technical solution to provide for an automatic power down of such boxes, to function when the TV itself is switched off, in order to avoid unnecessary energy loss. Finally, regarding the labelling of boilers and water heaters, ANEC asked, among other things, for the inclusion of these products in the EU energy labelling scheme. ANEC also emphasised the need for lateral measures such as subsidies and tax reductions in order to support consumers when they need to replace old boilers and water heaters with more energy efficient appliances.

More information is available at
http://www.anec.eu/attachments/ANEC-PT-2008-EuP-001final.pdf  
(Simple set-top boxes)
http://www.anec.eu/attachments/ANEC-PT-2008-EuP-002final.pdf
(External power supplies)
http://www.anec.eu/attachments/ANEC-PT-2008-EuP-003final.pdf
(Boilers and water heaters)

Information Society & Design for All

ETSI Human Factors meeting

ANEC representative Nikolas Floratos attended the Joint HF/User meetings that took place from 4- 8 February 2008 in Sofia Antipolis, France. A significant point of discussion was the document DTR of STF 333 on European Accessibility Requirements for Public Procurement of Products and Services in the ICT domain, since it contains a lot of information and material for consumers (EC Standardisation Mandate M/376, Phase 1). ANEC pointed out that some of the content still needs to be edited to reformulate some of the guidance given into simple and very visible recommendations. An open meeting has been planned for discussing comments and views from the stakeholders and beneficiaries with the support of DATSG and the European Commission on 3-4 June 2008.

During the presentation of STF 342 Personalisation and User Profile Management Standardisation, whose objective is to provide a means to achieve the goal of the new ICT era where services and devices can be personalised by users in order to meet their individual requirements, ANEC emphasised that this work needs also to address the issue of personal data protection and privacy, otherwise ANEC cannot endorse it. The STF leader confirmed this will be one of their main focus areas.


CEN BT WG 185’s initial report on “European accessibility requirements for public procurement of products and services in the ICT domain”

ANEC, represented by Mark Magennis, was active in the CEN work on Mandate M 376, Phase 1, and commented on the first report on the analysis of testing and conformity schemes of products and services meeting accessibility requirements.

On usability testing and inspection, ANEC said that both testing methods could be used as part of either a formative evaluation or a summative evaluation. However, the two methods have different aims, involve different procedures and produce different outputs depending on whether they are being used for formative testing or summative testing. Since conformance is a claim about a released product or service, summative conformance testing must be carried out at the end of the development process, on a fully-functioning finished product. By contrast, formative testing is performed throughout the development process, from the earliest stages, on prototype or incomplete products. This distinction is important in light of the claim that third-party conformity assessment increases costs by replicating the testing done internally by suppliers.

ANEC also stated that market surveillance is complementary, not alternative, to conformity assessment, as it is generally described as “ex-post market” measure. This tallies with the view of the report’s authors: “the opinion of the Project Team is that market surveillance is not an alternative to conformity assessment within the framework of public procurement”.

ANEC and EDF present on eAccessibility at INCOM meeting

On 18 February 2008, ANEC made a presentation, with the European Disability Forum (EDF), at the Inclusive Communications Committee (INCOM) meeting. This is the advisory subgroup of the European Commission Communications Committee (COCOM) on users with disabilities. We presented our position on eAccessibility, released in December 2007. After introducing our organisations and the reasons leading to the joint position (the market is not delivering enough eAccessibility), ANEC and EDF submitted to INCOM our proposed measures for strengthening the existing legal basis and our demands for the new horizontal eAccessibility Directive.

The Commission, welcoming ANEC and EDF’s suggestions, said that indeed progress is too slow especially as far as eAccessibility is concerned, as showed by the “Riga dashboard”. Therefore, according to the e-Inclusion Communication of November 2007, a public consultation on Impact Assessment on horizontal eAccessibility legislation should start soon with the view of issuing a proposal by the end of the year.

Information Society

Radio Frequency Identification: Tracking products and consumers?

On 21 February 2008, a public consultation was launched on the draft European Commission Recommendation which addresses the implementation of privacy, data protection and information security principles in RFID applications.

ANEC who, together with BEUC, participated in the European Commission RFID Experts’ Group drafting this recommendation, welcomed the decision to launch a public consultation. However, ANEC believes RFID technologies also pose risks to health and the environment. We therefore urge the Commission to consider these further risks alongside those already identified to protect consumers. As RFID technologies will significantly increase exposure to Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) elements, ANEC believes new exposure assessment procedures to test compliance with safety guidelines are needed. Moreover, further research is required to assess the potential health risks that can arise from the application of RFID technologies. ANEC supports the recommendation to RFID operators to inform consumers about the presence of an RFID tag in a clear and accessible manner.

ANEC also welcomes the proposed adoption of the ‘opt-in’ principle in the retail sector as we believe consumers must be allowed the choice to decide whether to accept the use of RFID technologies in specific applications and whether their data should be collected. Consumer responses to RFID technologies will be crucial to its future. If the regulatory and policy environments do not ensure proper privacy and security, consumers will definitely lose any confidence in RFID. This is particularly the case if consumers are forced to take steps to avoid their privacy being violated.

More information is available at http://www.anec.eu/attachments/ANEC-PR-2008-PRL-003.pdf  

TACD meeting on interoperability and open standards

ANEC Programme Manager Chiara Giovannini gave a presentation at the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD) meeting on interoperability and open standards on 11 February 2007 in Brussels. The meeting gathered consumers representatives from both sides of the Atlantic as well as European Commission officials and experts from industry, to discuss some of the tools and approaches available to foster interoperability and open standards in the consumer interest.

A lively exchange took place on the recent controversy over the ISO approval of ISO/IEC DIS 29500 “Office Open XLM” standard. ANEC had lobbied against this, noting the complexity of the ISO/IEC fast track procedure for consumers. We questioned whether this procedure provides sufficient scrutiny to meet the needs of consumers and other societal stakeholders, including public administrations.

ANEC’s presentation focused on the use of standards as a tool for promoting consumer interests such as interoperability and compatibility. After explaining the EU standardisation system and difference between open standards, open source and FRAND policies, ANEC said that dedicated expertise and considerable resources were needed for consumers to influence ICT standardisation. ANEC added that public authorities should consider legislation if there is insufficient confidence in the standards delivered by the market. The meeting agreed to draft a TACD resolution on interoperability to feed into the April 2008 TACD annual meeting in the United States.

World Wide Web Consortium meeting

ANEC representative Bruno von Niman attended the W3C TPAC (Technical Plenary and Advisory Committee) meeting from 5-10 November 2007 in Cambridge, USA. It was the first combining a full W3C Advisory Committee Meeting with a W3C Technical Plenary week, where typically 10-25 different W3C Working Group meetings are held daily.

During the Advisory Committee meeting, the most positive news for ANEC was about the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 development, where it was mentioned that a Second Last Call will be issued “any time soon”. ANEC had an active role in supporting the inclusion of the work into the mainstream work charter The work of the Web Security WG is progressing well and most of the comments provided by ANEC were addressed seriously and included in the working draft reviewed during the meeting.

Services

ANEC participates in final workshops of AFNOR service feasibility studies

ANEC Project Manager Nina Klemola attended three consumer-relevant stakeholder seminars on the AFNOR service feasibility studies carried out under the CEN Second Programming Mandate M/371 on Services. The meeting on home services took place in Brussels on 31 January 2008, whereas the meetings on residential home services and on accessibility of tourism and transport services took place on 1 and 13 February 2008 respectively. The aim of the meetings was to allow stakeholders to give their views on the issues, and on whether they support standardisation and/or regulation in these fields.

Old person in a residential home (Source: Google)ANEC was invited to give presentations on its position on service standardisation at all three seminars. The presentations highlighted ANEC’s call for a legislative framework for services at the European level, but also gave an overview of the core consumer elements relevant for service standards, in any field. For all three topics, participants agreed that a clear and defined scope would be needed before any work begins, and that terminology standards may be a useful starting point. Although everyone agreed that home services and tourism or transport services are of importance to consumers and users, there was no consensus on whether standards would be the right tool to address these services. In the case of ensuring accessibility of transport and tourism services participants largely concurred that there is a need for legislation.

ANEC attends the meeting of CEN BT TF 182 Customer Contact Centres

ANEC representative Kristina Unverricht participated in the meeting of CEN/BT TF 182 on Customer Contact Centres on 13-14 December 2007 in Vienna. The meeting discussed the fourth Working Draft on requirements for contact centres.

ANEC had provided a new wording on complaints handling from ISO 10002 and it was agreed to refer to this standard as well as to ISO 10003 on dispute resolution, without making them normative references. ANEC also succeeded in re-inserting a section on ethical requirements/consumer protection in the draft, and in introducing a new key performance indicator on complaints which gives the ratio between complaints of the contact centre services and the number of contacts handled. This was considered to be a good performance indicator in measuring the service quality of the centres.

The draft standard is expected to go for (public) Enquiry in summer 2008, with ANEC intending to prepare comments on the draft.

ANEC gives its views on Council Recommendation on fire safety in hotels

Fire exit sign (Source: Google)In December 2007, in response to a request from DG SANCO for stakeholder views on the revision of Council Recommendation 86/666/EEC on the fire safety of hotels, ANEC called on the Commission to propose a Directive. Such a proposal should be based on revised provisions and guidelines of the Recommendation.

ANEC stressed it does not support the option of finalising the technical guidelines of the Recommendation through adoption of a CEN Technical Report as such a voluntary measure would not be robust enough to reduce the risks related to fires in hotels and would do little to increase consumer confidence and protection. In addition, ANEC underlined that the revised legislative instrument should take the needs of persons with disabilities better into account by revising the existing emergency planning, staff training and fire safety management provisions. Finally, ANEC considered that the scope of the current instrument should be broadened to cover also smaller accommodation establishments.

For more information: http://www.anec.eu/attachments/ANEC-SERV-2007-G-069final.pdf


ANEC comments on draft standard on requirements for real estate agent services

In January 2008, ANEC commented on the draft standard prEN 15733 : 2007 ‘Requirements for the provision of services of real estate agents’, out for (public) Enquiry until 25 March 2008. In its comments ANEC stressed that we do not consider the draft to satisfy consumer requirements and lamented that the draft fails to address major consumer concerns such as non-transparent costs or the unrealistic or deceptive presentation of properties by real estate agents.

In particular, ANEC considered the draft suffers from numerous lists of examples and options which leave its requirements too imprecise. Also, strengthened and more detailed information requirements and education/skills requirements for agents should be included in the standard. Finally, ANEC stressed again the need to ensure information provided by an agent is easily understandable and accessible to persons with special needs and that any physical or cognitive impairments of customers are taken into account.

Traffic Safety

First meeting of the GRSP ad hoc group on CRS

The ANEC/CI Representative Ronald Vroman attended the first meeting of the GRSP Ad hoc group on CRS on 30 January 2008 in Paris. The aim of this meeting was to achieve a better definition of the field of work of the proposal for a new regulation on CRS. Ronald Vroman participated in the discussion, especially to safeguard the general concerns presented earlier in GRSP. Emphasis was put on consumer classification of child seats rather than weight classes, and on more possibilities to transport children in rearward facing CRS.

There was agreement that classification was a major point of concern as the current system of weight categories is difficult to understand for consumers. Hence a ‘dimensions’-based classification should be developed as a first priority. As to the scope, it was decided the proposal should concentrate first on integral ISOFIX systems. The ANEC representative gave a presentation on the marking of ISOFIX anchorages. The new regulation will be applicable for CRS in M1 and N1 vehicles. Applicability in buses was only briefly approached. This was seen as another level of ISOFIX to be revisited later.

ANEC, together with OICA, was appointed task leader to gather information and recommendations on design of the test bench (through participation in ICRT tests and the NPACS project). OICA and the consumer representatives are invited to make a recommendation before the meeting.
In several interventions, the ANEC representative drew attention to on-going work in Australia; highlighted the problems in buses; and emphasised the need for car manufacturers to take responsibility for the safe transport of children. As a result of the meeting some general concepts were agreed, priorities set and plan for the next months established.

News from other organisations

Loss at DG Enterprise

It was with great sadness that we learned of the death of Michel Ayral, Director of Regulatory Policy in DG Enterprise, after a short illness. Michel was a speaker at the last ANEC General Assembly on the issue of the Internal Market Package. He understood the importance of balance and fairness in the development of European legislation and supporting standards. Our thoughts are with his family and colleagues.

New CENELEC President

An extraordinary meeting of the CENELEC General Assembly held in December 2007 saw the appointment of Mr Dieter Harting as CENELEC President for the term 2008-2010. Mr Harting is President of the Harting Technology Group and is President of both DIN and DKE. Mr Harting succeeds Dr Ulrich Spindler, who had served as CENELEC President since 2003.

International Electrical Product Safety Conference

The International Electrical Product Safety Conference in September 2008, hosted by the Electrical Safety Council, aims to address major issues in consumer safety. Over two days, through a mix of plenary and interactive themed breakout sessions, the conference will embrace the economic, legislative and global aspects of consumer product safety, by tackling the safety of imported goods, the revision of the New Approach and the Low Voltage Directive, ongoing initiatives in market surveillance, counterfeiting, and the protection of vulnerable consumers. ANEC will attend the conference.

More information is available at www.escconference.org.uk  

2nd European Conference on Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion

This conference is being organised on 9 and 10 October 2008 by Eurosafe in cooperation with the French Consumer Safety Commission. The main objective of the conference is to help move forward the implementation of the EU Council Recommendation adopted in May 2007. The Recommendation invites Member States to make better use of existing injury data and develop national injury surveillance and reporting systems; and set up national plans for injury prevention that include safety promotion in education and professional training. The conference will assist this process and help facilitate capacity building and the development of national plans for injury prevention and safety promotion.

More information is available at www.eurosaf.eu.com/paris2008  

Miscellaneous

Meetings with ANEC representation

   Date Title
General Interest 17 April 2008
Brussels, Belgium
Launch of RAPEX Annual Report 2007 by DG SANCO,
Press conference
Standards bodies of general interest 6 March 2008
Brussels, Belgium
CEN TCMG
  14 March 2008
Brussels, Belgium
ETSI General Assembly
  19 March 2008
Brussels, Belgium
CEN/CA Part II
  26-28 March 2008
Nice, France

ETSI General Assembly

  9-10 April 2008
Brussels, Belgium
63rd CEN/BT meeting
  16-17 April 2008
Vienna, Austria
CENELEC Technical Board
 Child Safety

10-11 March 2008 Brussels, Belgium

ANEC Child Safety Working Group meeting
  1 April 2008
Brussels, Belgium
Report point for unsafe children’s products, evaluation meeting
  17 April 2008
Paris, France
CEN TC 252 WG6 Child care articles - General and common safety specifications
  18 April 2008
Paris, France
CEN TC 252 Child care articles - Plenary meeting
 Design for All 19 March 2008
London, UK
ANEC Exclusion Clause Project Team
  15 April 2008
Brussels, Belgium
CEN WG/BT 185 second meeting
15 April 2008
Brussels, Belgium
BT Working Group on the CEN/CENELEC work on the Mandate
16 April 2008
Brussels, Belgium
DATSCG Workshop on the ETSI work on the Mandate
21 April 2008
Geneva, Switzerland
Joint ITU and G3ict Forum 2008 on “The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Challenges and Opportunities for ICT Standards
Domestic Appliances 19 March 2008
London, UK
ANEC Exclusion Clause Project Team
17 April 2008
Luxembourg
European Commission’s Low Voltage Directive Working Party
17 April 2008
Berlin, Germany
CLC/TC 59X WG1 SWG 1.9 Tumble dryers
24-25 April 2008 Brussels, Belgium ANEC Domestic Appliances Working Group
Environment
28-29 February 2008
Paris, France
International workshop “Meeting energy efficiency goals – enhancing compliance, monitoring & evaluation”
29 February 2008
Brussels, Belgium
Commission Eco-design Stakeholder Forum meeting on boilers and water heaters (Lots 1 and 2)
15 April 2008
Vienna, Austria
CEN TC 350 WG 3 ‘Product level’ meeting
16 April 2008
Vienna, Austria
CEN TC 350 ‘Sustainability of construction works’ meeting
17 April 2008
Vienna, Austria
CEN TC 350 Task Group ‘Framework’ meeting
29 April 2008
Prague, Czech Republic
CENELEC TC 111X Environment
12 March 2008
Brussels, Belgium
CEN/TC 365 - Project Committee: Internet Filtering
13 March 2008
Brussels, Belgium
European Commission RFID expert group
17 March 2008
Sophia Antipolis, France
ETSI Board
1 April 2008
Brussels, Belgium
European Commission ICT study Steering Committee
23 April 2008
Brussels, Belgium
European Commission Electronic Communications Committee (COCOM)
24 April 2008
Brussels, Belgium
European Commission RFID expert group
Services
25-26 February 2008
Marbella, Spain

ISO TC 228 ‘Tourism and related services’ meeting

27 March 2008
Brussels, Belgium
European Commission stakeholder meeting on focus group study on pre-contractual information in relation to financial services
2 April 2008
Brussels, Belgium
CEN Horizontal European Services Standardisation Strategy (CHESSS) study final stakeholder meeting
1 April 2008
Brussels, Belgium
CEN BT WG 163 ‘Services Standardisation’ meeting
14-15 April 2008 Brussels, Belgium ANEC Services Working Group meeting
17-18 April 2008 Brussels, Belgium CEN BT TF 182 ‘Customer Contact Centres’ meeting
Traffic Safety 13-14 March 2008
Delft, the Netherlands
TC 278 ‘Road Transport and Traffic Telematics’

  11-14 March 2008
Geneva, Switzerland
144th session World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP 29)
 Other Issues 5 March 2008
Brussels, Belgium
European Parliament seminar on Nanotechnologies

Standards Out for Public Enquiry

 Date  Title  Reference number  Technical Committee
Domestic Appliances  20.05.2008

Agricultural machinery – Safety – Part 11&12 

Ref: prEN ISO 4254-11/12 REVIEW TC 144
 10.06.2008 Safety of machinery – Basic concepts, general principles for design – Part 1&2 Ref: EN ISO 12100-1/2:2003/prA1 TC 114
 24.06.2008 Furniture – Strength, durability and safety Ref: prEN 12521 REVIEW TC 207
Traffic Safety  13.05.2008 Road vehicles Ref: prEN ISO 15008 REVIEW TC 278

Standards Out for Formal Vote

 Date  Title  Reference number  Technical Committee
Child Safety  17.03.2008

Safety of toys –Part 1: Mechanical and physical properties 

Ref: EN 71-1:2005/prA5 TC 52
 24.03.2008 Playground equipment and surfacing – Part 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/10/11 Ref: prEN 1176-1/2/3/4/5/6/7/10/11 REVIEW TC 136
 24.03.2008 Impact attenuating playground surfacing – Determination of critical fall height Ref: prEN 1177 REVIEW TC 136
Design for All  10.04.2008 Packaging – Package leaflets for medicinal products – Braille and other formats for visually impaired people Ref: prCEN/TR 15753 TC 261
Domestic Appliances  15.02.2008 Safety of machinery

Ref: prEN ISO 14159 REVIEW
EN 13478:2001/prA1
EN 1037:1995/prA1

TC 114
 04.03.2008 Gas heated catering equipment – Part 1 Ref: EN 203-1:2005/prA1
TC 106
 10.03.2008 Hardware for furniture Ref: prEN 15570 TC 207
 10.03.2008 Heating systems in buildings Ref: prEN 15316-4-1 TC 228
 10.04.2008  (UAP) Safety of machinery Evaluation of the emission of airborne hazardous substances –Part 3&4 Ref: EN 1093-3/4:2006/prA1 TC 114
17.04.2008 (UAP) Safety of machinery – Safety-related parts of control systems – Part 1&2 Ref: prEN ISO 13849-1 REVIEW TC 114
17.04.2008

(UAP) Safety of machinery Evaluation of the emission of airborne hazardous substances –Part 2

Ref: EN 1093-2:2006/prA1 TC 114
17.04.2008 Safety of machinery – Reduction of risks to health from hazardous substances emitted by machinery – Part 1&2 Ref: EN 626-1/2:1994/prA1 TC 114
30.04.2008 (UAP) Safety of machinery Evaluation of the emission of airborne hazardous substances –Part 11 Ref: EN 1093-11:2006/prA1 TC 114
24.04.2008

(UAP) Safety of machinery – Emergency stop

Ref: prEN ISO 13850 REVIEW TC 114
30.04.2008 (UAP) Safety of machinery – Interlocking devices associated with guards Ref: EN 1088:1995/prA2 TC 114
30.04.2008 (UAP) Safety of machinery – The positioning of protective equipment in respect of approach speeds of parts of the human body Ref: EN 999:1998/prA1 TC 114
Services
15.02.2008

Postal services 

Ref: prCEN/TR 15735 TC 331
Traffic Safety 29.04.2008 Road restraint systems – Part 5 Ref: EN 1317-5:2007/prA1 TC 226
30.04.2008 (TCA) Road transport and traffic telematics Ref: prCEN/TR 15762 TC 278
Other Issues 20.02.2008 Ergonomics of human-system interaction – Part 302/303/306 Ref: prEN ISO 9241-302/303/306 TC 122
24.03.2008 Ergonomic design of control centres – Part 5 Ref: prEN ISO 11064-5 TC 122
07.04.2008 Ergonomics of human-system interaction – Part 151 Ref: prEN ISO 9241-151 TC 122

Published Standards

 Date  Title  Reference number  Technical Committee
Child Safety  28.11.2007

Child care articles – Carry cots and stands – Safety requirements and test methods

Ref: EN 1466:2004+A1:2007 TC 252
 05.12.2007 Safety of children’s clothing – Cords and drawstrings on children’s clothing - Specifications Ref: EN 14682:2007 TC 248
 19.12.2007 Sports and recreational facilities – Ropes courses – Part 1 Ref: EN 15567-1:2007 TC 136
Domestic Appliances  28.11.2007

Forestry machinery

Ref: EN ISO 22867:2006 TC 144
 05.12.2007 Safety of woodworking machines – Circular sawing machines – Part 13 Ref: EN 1870-13:2007 TC 142
 05.12.2007 Gas fired central heating boilers Ref: EN 483:1999/A4:2007 TC 109
  Safety of woodworking machines – Circular sawing machines – Part 14
19.12.2007 Safety of woodworking machines – Circular sawing machines – Part 14 Ref: EN 1870-14:2007 TC 142
Information Society 05.12.2007

Identification card systems

Ref: EN 15320:2007 TC 224
Traffic Safety 15.12.2007 Automatic vehicle and equipment identification – Electronic Registration Identification (ERI) for vehicles –Part 1&2 Ref: CEN ISO/TS 24534-1:2007 TC 278
Other Issues 15.12.2007 Ergonomics of the thermal environment Ref: EN ISO 11079:2007 TC 122

Latest ANEC Comments

   Title  Reference Number
 Child Safety ANEC comments on document CEN TC 52 N1201 concerning an amendment for cords on toys Ref: ANEC-CHILD-2007-078
  ANEC reply to CEN TC 52 internal enquiry concerning magnets in toys (doc CEN TC 52 N1210) Ref: ANEC-CHILD-2007-080
  Follow-up of action points from November 2007 meeting of the GPSD Committee: ANEC input Ref: ANEC-ML-2007-0211
  Comments from ANEC and BEUC on the draft Commission Decision for magnetic toys Ref: ANEC-ML-2008-0001
  Position paper from ANEC and BEUC with key points for the revision of the Toy Safety Directive Ref: ANEC-CHILD-2008-G-001

ANEC/BEUC joint press release- Toy safety: will the EU meet the challenge? 

Ref: ANEC-PR-2008-PRL-001
BEUC and ANEC Statement on Toy Safety – Press release Ref: ANEC-PR-2008-PRL-002
ANEC reply and input to CEN BT concerning draft mandate for the revision of EN 13869 on child resistant cigarette lighters Ref: ANEC-CHILD-2008-G-002
Input to CEN TC 252 concerning recall of combined travel cot / changing unit / playpen Ref: ANEC-ML-2008-0028
Letter to CEN TC 252 WG3 with rationales for inclusion in prEN 1888rev Wheeled child conveyances Ref: ANEC-CHILD-2008-G-020
  Letter to the UK Foundation for the Study of infant Deaths (FSIDS) concerning their advice for babies to sleep with a soother to prevent cot death Ref: ANEC-ML-2008-0012
Design for all

ANEC comments on CEN/BT WG 185 Project Team Initial report “European accessibility requirements for public procurement of products and services in the ICT domain”

Ref: ANEC-DFA-2008-G-002
Domestic Appliances ANEC comments to DG ENTR on draft opinion on child-appealing products Ref: ANEC-DOMAP-2007-G-075
ANEC comments to Commission consultation on EU Energy Labelling Ref: ANEC-DOMAP-2008-G-002final
Environment

ANEC comments to Commission consultation on EU Energy Labelling

Ref: ANEC-ENV-2008-G-001final
Letter to CEN on joint ANEC/ECOS position on CEN Environmental Policy document (SABE N789rev2) Ref: ANEC-ML-2008-0033 + Attachment
ANEC/BEUC position on eco-design requirements for simple set top boxes Ref: ANEC-PT-2008-EuP-001final
ANEC/BEUC position on eco-design requirements for external power supplie Ref: ANEC-PT-2008-EuP-002final
Joint ANEC/BEUC position on eco-design requirements for boilers and water heaters Ref: ANEC-PT-2008-EuP-003final
Information Society

ANEC and BEUC comments on draft Recommendation on privacy and security aspects of RFID

Ref: ANEC-ICT-2008-G-002
Services Final ANEC statement on revision of Council Recommendation on fire safety in hotels Ref: ANEC-SERV-2007-G-069final
Lobbying request for positive vote on early revision of letter plate/box standard EN 13724 Ref: ANEC-ML-2008-0003
Lobbying request for positive vote on formal vote on prTR 15735 Distance to access points (CEN TC 331) Ref: ANEC-ML-2008-0004
Final ANEC comments to prEN 15733:2007 “Requirements for the provision of services of real estate agents” Ref: ANEC-SERV-2008-G-003
  ANEC comments to Working Draft of CEN BT TF 200 Services of Hearing Aid Specialists Ref: ANEC-SERV-2008-G-001

Further Information

For comments, or to write an article for the ANEC Newsletter, please contact the ANEC Secretariat (anec@anec.eu)
             

    
top ANEC
© ANEC, Brussels, 2017, webmaster
Level A conformance icon, W3C-WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0  Valid CSS!  AnySurfer, quality mark for accessible websites in Belgium