ANEC is the European consumer voice in standardisation, representing and defending consumer interests in the process of standardisation, conformity assessment and related legislation. Our aim is a high level of consumer protection.
ANEC was set up in 1995 as an international non-profit association under Belgian law. We represent consumer organisations from the European Union Member States and the EFTA countries. Our General Assembly is composed of one national member per country, nominated jointly by the national consumer organisations in their country. The European Commission and EFTA fund ANEC, while national consumer organisations contribute in kind.
The Brussels based Secretariat co-ordinates a network of more than 200 consumer representatives across Europe. Our experts contribute directly to the work of over 80 Technical Committees, Working Groups and political bodies of the European and international standards organisations.
More about ANEC can be found in the leaflet, which is available in 11 different languages: Czech, English, Estonian, French, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish and Spanish .
List of technical committees where ANEC is represented
Standards affect us all every day and everywhere. Research and testing projects underpin ANECís activities at the technical level. The research we commission reflects our priorities. Consumer representatives need scientific information to back their arguments in standardisation committees and working groups. This is particularly important when they have to argue against strong industry interests.
Why is consumer representation important?
Press reports and studies1 show that in the EU, around 1200 fires, and 20 fires with fatalities are believed to be caused every year by children under five playing with lighters2. Many of these accidents could be avoided if all lighters were fitted with childproof devices. Consumer organisations are calling for child resistant lighters on the European market for more than 10 years.
Therefore, in early 2006 ANEC congratulated the Commission and Member States for their decision to allow only lighters fitted with childproof devices on the European market. At the meeting of the Committee under the General Product Safety Directive on 9 February 2006, Member States voted in favour of the Commission's proposal to take measures to ensure that only child resistant lighters are placed on the market and to prohibit the placing on the market of novelty lighters. This decision will help avoid the many accidents caused by children under five playing with lighters. The decison will be implemented in early 2007.
1Report on accidents caused by children under five years of age playing with cigarette lighters - UK Department of Trade and Industry, 1997.
2Lighters are dangerous since they produce a flame and heat, and contain flammable gas or liquid. They can cause fire, injuries and deaths.
Cords on children's clothes
Fatal accidents have occured in playgrounds, caused by cords and drawstrings in the head and neck area of childrenís garments. These have a high potential for causing strangulation incidents. Thanks to ANECís contribution, the final standard bans their use in the head and neck area on clothes for children up to the age of seven.
Several people were injured because the rotating disk of their juice extractors broke. ANEC suggested that a chemical test should be undertaken. The results of this test revealed that cracks in the plastic and corrosion of the rotating disk appear when concentrated solutions of citric acid and at the same time dishwasher detergent are used. Thanks to ANEC lobbying efforts, the standard for juice extractors was revised in order to make the product safer.