News from December 2014

No news in December 2014.

News from November 2014

In order to further increase and ensure the safety for children, the EU Commission has published a draft according to the latest scientific findings for the reduction of the lead migration limits for toys. Lead is often found in plastics, paint and varnish. The current limits conforming to directive for toys 2009/48/EC and the suggested limits according to the directive draft for change of the directive for toys are shown in the table.

Migration limits in toysDry, crumbling, dusty or pliable materials (e.g. chalk, clay)Liquid or sticky materials (e.g. soap bubble solution, slime)Scraped materials (e.g. polymers, coatings, cardboard, textiles etc.)
"Current" lead migration limits accorting to directive for toys: 2009/48/EG13.5 mg/kg3.4 mg/kg160 mg/kg
"New lead migration limits according to the draft2.0 mg/kg0.5 mg/kg23 mg/kg

Suggested time for acceptance of the draft: 1st quarter of 2015

Transition time to validity: 3rd quarter of 2016

For any queries on this topic please refer to your respective sales reresentative or call our customer service at +49(0)40 300 33 73 - 73 10 or send an email.

Hermes Hansecontrol-Cert has extended its capacity for testing ecological design requirements for refrigerators and freezers by modernizing the walk-in climate chamber and measuring technology needed for measuring. In order that consumers buying refrigerators and freezers can choose more energy efficient products, the special ecological design requirements are defined in stages in Commission Regulation 643/2009 (EC). Directive 2009/125/EC states that the products must therefore contain data on the consumption by means of unified labels (energy labels) as well as more detailed product information.

It must be noted that since July 2014 a new limit for the EEI (Energy Efficiency Index) of compressor refrigerators applies. This has been EEI < 44 since 2012 and is now since July this year EEI < 42. According to labeling regulation 1060/2010 (EU) this value is equivalent to energy efficiency class A+ in a scale from G (least efficiency) to A+++ (greatest efficiency). For other refrigerators, e.g. absorption refrigerators, the EEI will be reduced from the previous value < 125 to < 110 from July 2015.

Hermes Hansecontrol-Cert is accredited for the measuring procedure and would be glad to perform the energy labeling classification for your refrigerators and freezers

For questions on this topic please contact your respective sales representative or call our customer service under the phone number +49 (0)40 300 33 73 - 73 10 or send an email.

Hermes Hansecontrol-Cert has designed its service concerning the test marks of Hermes Hansecontrol in an even consumer friendlier way and thus taken into account the requirements of consumer associations for more transparency and traceability of test mark awarding. Especially for the fields of the particularly demanded test symbol for “Fit For Use” (FFU), the consumer will in future receive more detailed information on the tests performed and the score determined.

For questions on this topic please contact your respective sales representative or call our customer service under the phone number +49 (0)40 300 33 73 - 73 10 or send us an email.

The German Food and Feed Code – LFGB – is the umbrella law of German food laws and implements the EU basis regulation. The main objective is to guarantee food safety. Manufacturers, traders or distributors are obliged to assure the faultless quality of the goods.

Final materials/articles in contact with food must, among other things, be manufactured so that the organoleptic properties of foods are not adversely affected, i.e. smell and taste must not change.

In our workshop on February 3 in Hamburg the participants learn the basics of sensor technology for final materials/articles and their implementation in operation by means of practical excercises.

Here you will find all the important information about content and conditions for participation (only in German). If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at +49 (0) 40 300 33 73 - 13 30 or by sending an email.

News from October 2014

The revised draft of EN 14682 has been submitted for the formal vote. Hermes Hansecontrol assumes that the new version of EN 14682 will still be published this year. Apart from additions of terminology definitions and notes, the structured classification of the requirements in particular provides clarification regarding some grey areas in the presently valid standard version.

Thus the risks for front and back of the clothing items have been elaborated with more differentiation, individual requirements for decorative cords on the neck, head and upper chest areas have been relaxed also for younger children and evaluations of drawstrings and functional cords at the waist have been defined in more detail. This allows more scope for adapting to trends and fashionable designs without reducing the safety of the clothing item.

In order that manufacturers soon acquire an overview of the latest changes to the standard, Hermes Hansecontrol offers an in-house inspection of clothing collections for children together with safety experts in this field. Thus processing technologies and alternatives can be discussed directly at a sample collection or designs discussed in order to avoid subsequent time-consuming and costly reworking. Furthermore, Hermes Hansecontrol provides information on individual risk assessment of definitive parts of a current collection. This information goes further than the pure implementation of the standard and deals not only with the topics of workmanship, requirements for small parts and additions but also aspects of product safety for children’s clothes.

For questions on this topic please contact your respective sales representative or call our customer service under the phone number +49 (0)40 300 33 73 - 73 10 or send us an email.

Hermes Hansecontrol Cert takes a further important step in the direction of internationalization. With immediate effect the International Commission on the Rules for the Approval of Electrical Equipment (IECEE) has listed the Hamburg company as national certification center (NCB) as well as test laboratory (CBTL) in the CB field.

Hermes Hansecontrol Cert can now conduct tests and award certificates to products accordingly on the basis of CB processes applying international IEC standards. As of now, the GS certification of entertainment electronics is supplemented with the CB certification on the basis of IEC 60065.

The product tests on the basis of the CB process mean for Hermes Hansecontrol Cert an important extension to our certification and strengthen our company’s position in the global market: The rules in the CB process stipulate that the test reports of a member must not only be recognized by all other members but also can be extended by country specific sections. The CB test can also be recognized as part of the approval for a national symbol, for example “Geprüfte Sicherheit” (tested safety – GS symbol). The CB process brings significant financial advantages for the customer, since the complete testing of the device takes place only once and can be endorsed for the specific deviations of each new country of distribution.

For questions concerning the CB process please consult your respective sales representative or call our customer service under the phone number +49 (0)40 300 33 73 - 73 10 or send us an email.

The GS safety mark (“Geprüfte Sicherheit”) is a voluntary symbol which is regulated by law and is awarded by specially authorized testing facilities such as Hermes Hansecontrol-Cert for products such as toys, bicycles or entertainment electronics. The products are examined for adherence to statutory provisions and for other product dependent requirements such as adherence to limiting values of PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons).

The publication of the new GS specification for PAH resulted in several changes which will take effect on July 1, 2015.

In the new document the statutory limits for PAH conforming to provision (EC) No. 1907/2006, in short REACh, which will come into force on December 27, 2015, have been integrated. Moreover, further total and individual limits will be added to the total limit value for all 18 PAH lead substances, the individual limit for Benzo[a]pyrene (ZEK 01.4-08) and the other legally regulated PAH substances, such as an individual limit for naphthalene. Different limit values were defined for all categories.

You can refer to more changes and details also via this link.

For further questions on this topic please consult your respective sales representative or call our customer service under the phone number +49 (0)40 300 33 73 - 73 10 or send us an email.

In the European Union, toys must be provided with warning notices on the packaging, in the instruction manual or on the toy itself. This information must be worded in the language of the country of sale. The European Committee for Standardization (CEN) has now, in technical report CEN/TR 15071:2014, published translations of warning notices and instruction manuals in the series EN 71. This update replaces the 2005 version. The collection of formulations in various languages in conformity with toy directive 2009/48/EC simplifies the legally compliant marking in the national language of the target country. Nevertheless, additional, national legal requirements remain to be fulfilled under certain circumstances. It is therefore advisable to become thoroughly acquainted with each of the requirements in advance.

For any questions regarding the correct marking of toys, please feel free to get in touch with your respective sales representative or call our customer service under the phone number +49 (0)40 300 33 73 - 73 10 or send us an email.

In Hong Kong the “Toys and Children's Products Safety Ordinance” has been in force since 1993. In July 2014, the existing ordinance has been extended, defining precisely the dealers’ obligations, but also regulating the use of phthalates. Children’s toys and products for children must now be sufficiently marked. This includes the complete name of the product, the trademark as well as the complete address of the manufacturer, importer or seller. The ordinance stipulates that these marks must be clearly visible for the customer. The same applies to warning notices regarding safe storage and use, which must now be attached to the product or packaging in Chinese and English.

In addition, the new regulation covers the use of phthalates which are often used as softening agents for plastics. These six softening agents are divided into two classes: Class 1 (BBP, DBP, DEHP) and class 2 (DIDP, DINP, DNOP). The ordinance requires that phthalates of class 1 must not be used in concentrations of more than 0.1 percent by weight of the material containing the softening agent in toys and children’s products. Furthermore, phthalates of class 2 must not be used in concentrations of more than 0.1 percent by weight of material containing the softening agent in toys and children’s products which can put in the mouth by children.

Included in these are children’s products for up to four-year-olds (e.g. sleeping and relaxing aids, pacifiers for sucking). Manufacturers and dealers are obliged to have their products tested in laboratories accredited by the Hong Kong government. Hermes Hansecontrol Hong Kong is such a facility which is, among other things, specialized in safety testing and quality control of toys.

For questions regarding product safety in Hong Kong and offers from Hermes Hansecontrol Hong Kong please feel free to get in touch your respective sales representative or call our customer service under the phone number +49 (0)40 300 33 73 - 73 10 or send us an email.

Suitably for the season, numerous assortments of warm winter jackets, containing down as well as quilted jackets are being offered. In recent times, ever more products with a padding consisting of a mix of polyester fibers with down and/or feathers appear on the market.

But what is the correct labeling for a winter jacket with a padding consisting of a mix of polyester fibers (“ball fibers”, “microgel fibers” or “micro fiber balls”), down and/or feathers? Which legal provisions must be observed?

Which particular information must be given if the winter jackets have additional trimmings of fur or synthetic fur?

In order to answer these and many other questions concerning “product labeling” we recommend taking part in our two-day seminar: Produktkennzeichnung von Textilien, Schuhen und Lederwaren" on November 4th and 5th, 2014, in Hamburg

The question of correct labeling, for instance, of down jackets will be dealt with – from various viewpoints – on the first as well as on the second day of seminar. The subject matter of the seminar will include:

  • 1st day: product labeling conforming to the textile labeling act
  • 2nd day: product labeling based on the law against unfair competition and the corresponding norms and technical standards applying to labeling

Here you will find all the important information about content and conditions for participation (only in German). If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at +49 (0) 40 300 33 73 - 13 30 or by sending an email.

News from September 2014

When it is a matter of food safety, consumers are extremely wary. Plastics which come into contact with foods (food contact materials) must therefore meet special demands. EU regulation no. 10/2011 decrees which materials are permitted for manufacture and up to which maximum quantity substances may be transferred to foods. Furthermore, distributors according to this regulation require a written declaration confirming the legal conformity of the product. Hermes Hansecontrol has extended its analysis possibilities for measuring this specific migration. The new capability includes testing for phthalates conforming to DIN EN 13130-01 by means of GC-MS, to 1.3-butadiene conforming to DIN EN 13130-01 and DIN EN 13130-15 and the content of 1.3-butadiene conforming to DIN EN 131130-4 by means of GC-MS headspace as well as acrylnitrile conforming to DIN EN 13130-01 and DIN EN 13130-3 by means of GC-MS headspace. In order to perform the test correctly and accurately, the SML substance used in the plastic must be specified. In case the manufacturer for reasons of secrecy does not want to communicate this information to the distributor, a declaration of confidentiality between Hermes Hansecontrol and the manufacturer can be provided.

For queries on this topic kindly get in touch with your respective sales representative or our customer service at the phone number +49 40 300 33 73 73 10 or by email.

One of the most common reasons for complaint in clothing items is color change. These color changes can have a number of causes, e.g. influence of liquids, a mechanical stress factor, sunlight radiation, temperature etc. It is often a combination of various influences which lead to customer complaints. These stresses due to transport, storage and usage are tested in the laboratory in numerous test procedures. Among these there are a number of processes for determining the light-fastness of textiles. Apart from tests conforming to DIN EN ISO 105-B02 (color fastness against artificial light), the test conforming to DIN EN ISO 105-B07 published in October 2009 (color fastness to light with artificially dampened perspiration, also called color fastness to perspiration and light) has become established on the market as the test for clothing. The test for color fastness to perspiration and light was developed after color changes developed unexpectedly in the 1970s which could not be reproduced with the usual tests at that time. When these damage patterns were examined, it was observed that the color fastness of dampened textiles is lower. This effect occurs particularly in the last drying phase and is intensified by adding standard synthetic perspiration.

Based on this result, the product group can be identified for which additional testing of the color fastness to perspiration and light is particularly recommended. Apart from functional outer clothing (jackets, pants) these are, for example, also sports backpacks, whereby not only intense sunlight but also corresponding impact from liquid (perspiration, rain) can be expected.

Hermes Hansecontrol offers you not only laboratory testing but also support in compiling your requirement profiles.

If you have any questions on this topic, please get in touch with your respective sales representative or our customer service at the phone number +49 (0) 40-300 3373 7310 or by email.

For more Information about textile physics please click here.

High-quality underwear and swimwear is not only noticeable by its appearance, but rather by the required quality demands within the various stages of development and processing involved, up to completion of the garment. A bra must, as a garment, have an almost perfect fit and fashioning. The same high demands should be met by the material used. Since the brassiere rests directly on the skin, particularly good wearing properties are essential. In our special textile training on the subject of “Lingerie – Corsage – Swimwear “ on October 23, 2014 in Hamburg we examine the technical aspects of development and production and deal with probably the most challenging subject – correct fit.

Here you will find all the important information about content and conditions for participation (only in German). If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at +49 (0) 40 300 33 73 - 13 30 or by sending an email.

Identifying and avoiding safety risks for consumer goods. Particularly with regard to children, today’s mandatory standards are no longer sufficient to satisfy the increased quality awareness of the consumer and to counter losses of image and reputation as a result of product recalls. What can you do as manufacturer or importer with the accountability of manufacturer in order to exclude possible risks in advance?

In our seminar on October 15, 2014 in Hamburg you will find out how to check the design and functionality of consumer goods and thereby identify beforehand any possible hazards or safety gaps in the product’s usage by means of preliminary analysis processes.

Here you will find all the important information about content and conditions for participation (only in German). If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at +49 (0) 40 300 33 73 - 13 30 or by sending an email.

For more information about risk assessment, please click here.

News from August 2014

The Hermes Hansecontrol Group extended its competency in Asia. Both our laboratories in Shanghai and Dongguan support manufacturers, retailers and importers with additional testing services from now on.

At the Shanghai location the accredited laboratory enhances its presence for chemical and electrical testing (ISO/IEC 17025) and provides complementary product tests in the field of LFGB (Foods, Consumer Goods and Feedstuffs Code). The scope of LFGB includes not only food but also articles intended to come into contact with food – so-called consumer articles. The new test methods for the analysis of volatile organic compounds in plastics or silicon rubber and the harmful substances peroxide and acrylonitrile complete the existing services offered. The services of Hermes Hansecontrol Shanghai cover almost all product groups – from testing for textiles, clothing, footwear, as well as electrical household appliances, and power tools to sports equipment, bicycles and furniture.

The laboratory in Dongguan has obtained CMA accreditation and provides quality testing and conformity confirmations relevant for the Chinese market for common chemical and textile physical tests. In China textiles and clothing must meet several regulations for import and export e.g. the Chinese GB standard. In the course of China’s development from a procurement market to a consumer market, demands by European customers for testing for the Chinese market continues to grow. With the CMA accreditation Hermes Hansecontrol Dongguan is authorized to perform testing services based on the GB standard. With this service Dongguan supports manufacturers, retailers and importers with their activities in the Chinese market and the recognition of their products. Hermes Hansecontrol Shanghai also strives to receive CMA accreditation. Further information about the status will be given in our coming newsletters.

If you have any questions regarding this topic please contact your respective sales representative or our customer service at +49 (0) 40 300 33 73 73 10 or send us an email.

The European Commission and the EU Member States agreed to amendments in the Toy Safety Directive 2009/48/EC for nickel, bisphenol A and the flame retardants TCEP, TCPP and TDCP.

The existing exception rule for nickel will be extended. It is classified as toxic to reproduction, mutagenic and carcinogenic and so far may only be used in stainless steel. Therefore, the heavy metal may be used in toys as an electrical conductor from 1 July 2015, as ingestion via mouth or skin, given the small surfaces and the limited accessibility of the nickel-containing parts is extremely unlikely. Nickel is commonly found in electric toys like model railways or racing cars due to its corrosion resistance.

In contrast, bisphenol A (BPA) and plasticizers with flame retardant properties (TCEP, TCPP and TDCP) are subject to further restrictions. BPA is a hormone-acting chemical that is associated with permanent damage to the nervous and hormonal system.

Since it is used as a monomer for the production of polycarbonate plastics, it is found for example in plastic bowls, in certain coatings of food cans, in baby soothers and bottles or toys. Thermal papers such as receipts may also contain bisphenol A.

After BPA was banned in baby bottles years ago, the migration value in toys for children under 36 months will be reduced to 0.1 milligrams per liter from December 21, 2015. Also the chemical TCEP used as a flame retardant and the related substances TCPP and TDCP, which are used as plasticizers in toys, pose significant health risks. For this reason, the permissible values for toys are specified with a detection limit of five milligrams per kilogram from December 21, 2015.

For questions regarding toys testing, please contact your respective sales representative or our customer service at at +49 (0) 40 300 33 73 73 10 or by email.

Plush animals, folding bikes, or markers: in the first half of 2014 alone, 66 recalls have been counted by the Office for Environmental Protection (BAuA). Even though not every product recall attracts general public attention, the situation is problematic for the manufacturer because the replacement of the affected components or products costs time and money. What is common but even more serious is the admission that one’s product is defective or potentially dangerous as it also shakes the confidence of customers.

In order to strengthen consumer protection the German Bundestag adopted the Product Safety Act (ProdSG) in 2011. This requires that a product may only be made available on the market if it does not put at risk the safety and health of persons. The law defines risk as a combination of the probability of occurrence of a hazard and the severity of the potential harm. In summary it can be said that even if the likelihood of a threat is very low, it cannot be ruled out eventually which is also the explanation for the increasing number of products being recalled that have been normatively classified as safe according to ProdSG. To support you as a manufacturer to make your products as safe as possible, Hermes Hansecontrol has extended its portfolio with Risk Assessment services as of 1 June 2014. Our services range from a feasibility study to risk analysis of consumer goods, toys and entire product lines to product-related research and ratings.

Since during the process flow timing, monetary and emotional investments increase, our expert team starts supporting you in the design phase to identify hazards as early as possible and to minimize risks. We work with concrete examples in order to raise awareness of potential dangers as these are often abstract and difficult to grasp. In this way critical design errors should already be detected and eliminated early in the development phase in order to avoid imminent follow-up costs, or at least minimize them. In the following procurement phase, we assist you with the selection of suitable materials, inform you about tests required by law and also give you hints about safeguards that go beyond the minimum legal requirements. Especially in the toy sector the heightened quality awareness of consumers must be considered. Compliance with the minimum legal requirements is no longer enough to obtain trust by this very critical target group. Ultimately the objective must be to reduce the remaining risk to a minimum.

If you have any questions on this topic, please get in touch with your respective sales representative or our order management department at the phone number +49 (0) 40 300 33 73 - 7310 or by email.

The European Commission has published parts of the standard series DIN EN 71 for the safety of toys in the European Official Journal.

The new requirements apply to the following parts:

  • EN 71-1:2011+A3:2014 (mechanical and physical properties)
  • EN 71-2:2011+A1:2014 (flammability)
  • EN 71-7:2014 (finger paints) .

and

  • EN 71-13:2014 (oil factory board games, cosmetic kit and gustative games)

The main changes to the new consolidated version of DIN EN 71-1 (mechanical and physical properties) include clarification of the definition of the term paper and the inclusion of an additional test for removability of cardboard components. Felt and elastic fabrics are classified as a material/fabric by the standard in the future - accordingly they no longer fall under the requirements for small parts.

Plastic bags as packaging lose their exceptional status with respect to the foil thickness, if their surface is larger than 100 x 100 millimeters. This is newly independent of the opening size - including opening sizes of less than 380 millimeters.

EN 71-1:2011+A3 2014 contains significant amendments to the use of the gauss meter instrument and in the informative annex to the visibility and legibility of warnings, markings and instructions for use.

The EN 71-2 (flammability) contains the following amendments: Flammable liquids are also approved for olfactory board games, cosmetic kits and gustative games. In addition, the testing of toys with a soft filling has been revised.

For the amendments EN 71-1:2011+A3:2014 and EN 71-2:2011+A1:2014, a transitional period until September 30, 2014 applies.

If you have any questions regarding this topic please contact your respective sales representative or our customer service at +49 (0) 40 300 33 73 73 10 or send us an email.

Overcome conflicts of interests between quality, time and costs in the fashion industry with process optimization

The challenge to meet deadlines, minimize costs and to ensure product quality at the same time is every day business for a product manager.

Experts estimate that approximately 80% of all errors made in clothing products originate in the product development process. The impact is often identified much later when high costs have already been caused or even trigger further costs and time delays due to the required corrective actions.

In our seminar Quality Assurance Process in the Product Management of the Fashion Industry September 30, 2014 in Hamburg you will learn that quality, costs and deadlines only pose an apparent contradiction. All aspects benefit from an optimization of processes with the fitting measures. You will see the importance of early quality assurance measures in terms of the economy and learn methods and best practices for your every day work.

Here you will find all the important information about content and conditions for participation (only in German). If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at +49 (0) 40 300 33 73 - 13 30 or by sending an email.

News from July 2014

Perhaps you know this: You see a “Do it yourself” product in a shop and its packaging appeals to you. You buy it and find at home that the instruction manual is incomplete or totally missing. Finally, you bring the product back and both sides are losers: You are frustrated because of the waste of time and the manufacturer or dealer in the worst case loses a customer.

The packaging design is extremely important today in order to attract the customer’s attention to the own product. Just as important are well organized and understandable assembly instructions and instruction manuals. Customers expect that they will be able to assemble, for example, furniture without previous special knowledge. An attractive instruction manual is, however, complicated: The design must be coherent and clear, the accompanying texts must not overburden the users and must be presented in several languages. Additionally the manuals give rise to high production costs depending on the sales figures. But also the immaterial effects should not be forgotten: Production of instruction manuals takes up the time of personnel and can lead to delays in the delivery process. Furthermore, they influence the reputation of the brand: Customers who often have bad experience with a manufacturer’s manuals will avoid their products in the future.

Hermes Hansecontrol Hong Kong is aware of this challenge and now offers its customers support. We have built up a professional team with knowledge of design, technology, translation, sales, and marketing which resolves the often tedious process of preparing manuals. Preparation of complete manuals at Hermes Hansecontrol Hong Kong takes only ten to twenty days. This way our customers can concentrate on their core competencies.

For further information on our Hong Kong location and their testing and consultation services, please contact our customer service at +49 (0)40 300 33 73 73 10 or send us an email.

Hermes Hansecontrol Shanghai received accreditation according to ISO/IEC 17025 in March. The standard establishes the basic requirements for test and calibration laboratories. They must thereby prove that they have the necessary technical and organisational capability for performing reliable testing. To achieve the accreditation, laboratories must reveal which test and validation processes they apply and how they deal with metrological traceability and issues of measuring inaccuracy. Our laboratory in Shanghai convinced above all by a large spectrum of chemical as well as of electronic and electrical (E&E) tests.

Only two months later, the test laboratory which was founded only in October, 2013 acquired accreditation for textile physical testing, so that with immediate effect it can significantly expand its testing in this field. Hermes Hansecontrol Shanghai now already offers comprehensive premium services for customers in the greater Shanghai area as well as in the north and east of China. The services cover all product groups – from textiles and shoes via electrical power tools up to and including furniture.

In order to offer our Chinese customers the best possible services at all times, a highly qualified team is necessary. For this purpose, Hermes Hansecontrol Shanghai actively cooperates with Chinese universities and business schools to acquaint the students with the Hermes Hansecontrol brand and our services. In the course of the cooperation South American exchange students of the Shanghai Jiao Tong University and a delegation of the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) visited the laboratory in Shanghai. After a presentation on Hermes activities in the field of security/safety, ergonomics and sustainability, the students formed their own impressions about the work and test conditions at Hermes Hansecontrol Shanghai during an extensive laboratory viewing.

For further information on Hermes Hansecontrol Shanghai, please refer to our customer service at +49 (0)40 300 33 73 73 10 or send us an email.

Expertise gets around quickly: In order to meet the increasing demand for testing of consumer goods, Hermes Hansecontrol Dongguan has acquired two new GCMS testing instruments and one new LCMS testing instrument.

GCMS stands for gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. With this test method, products are tested for azo dyes. The use of these substances in everyday items is prohibited under the German Consumer Goods Ordinance as well as according to the EU Directive 2002/61/EC. LCMS stands for Liquid Chromatography mass spectrometry. The Hermes Hansecontrol Dongguan testing laboratory located in Southern China’s Guangdong province expects that the new test devices will be ready for use by the end of June 2014. Despite the growing demand for tests (e.g. toys) we provide our customers with first-class services as usual in the shortest possible time.

For further information about Hermes Hansecontrol Dongguan please contact our Customer-Service at +49 (0)40 300 33 73 73 10 or send us an email.

Today, many products are governed by various EC directives and must be marked accordingly with a CE mark. The CE markis probably among the best known symbols in Europe. It confirms that each product corresponds with valid European directives. The CE mark, however, is only valid if the label is correctly depicted. Several EC directives define exactly how the CE mark must be affixed.

A minimum size of five millimeters is set to ensure that all consumers can easily recognize the logo. It must also be permanently printed, for example, on the nameplate of the product; therefore it must not fade after washing.

In our market conformity tests (Marco) we find time and again that the CE mark is wrongly depicted. The most common mistake is that the “E” is misspelled. The European Union prescribes a particular type face. Thus, the central horizontal line of the letter must be only about 80 percent as long as the top and bottom ends. The spacing is also clearly defined. These strict rules are made in order to complicate forgery.

The consequences of an incorrectly placed CE logo are serious. After all, an incorrect labeling leads to exclusion of a product from the European Single Market. We would be glad to assist you in marking your products correctly in accordance with European regulations. For this purpose please feel free to get in touch with your respective sales representative or our customer service at +49 (0)40 300 33 73 73 10 or send us an email.

On June 16, 2014, the REACh SVHC list of candidates was extended by 4 substances to now contain 155 SVHC substances. The following substances were recently added:

  • 1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid, dihexyl ester, branched and linear (Di-n-hexylphthalate branched chain and straight chain, a further phthalate softener which can be used in plastics, a cadmium compound (cadmium chloride) which is used among other things in the manufacture of pigments);
  • a cadmium compound (cadmium chloride) which is used among other things in the manufacture of pigments;
  • a cadmium compound (cadmium chloride) which is used among other things in the manufacture of pigments

Once new substances have been added to the candidate list, manufacturers, importers and suppliers are obliged to immediately comply with their duty to provide information pursuant to Article 33. As soon as a product contains a substance from the candidate list in a concentration exceeding 0.1 per cent by weight, commercial customers or consumers must be provided with information about the constituent substance and safe use (within 45 days if requested).

Furthermore, manufacturers or importers of products have, under certain circumstances, a duty to provide notification to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) in connection with SVHC substances. From the date, on which new substances are added to the candidate list, companies have 6 months to comply with their duty to provide notification.

Here you will find the link to the SVHC list of candidates.

For further information on the subject of REACh, please contact our customer service at +49 (0)40 300 33 73 73 10 or send us an email.

News from June 2014

From fan T-shirt via cuddly toy to brand named electric grill: The market for promotional and merchandising items is booming – and as diverse as hardly any other kind of business.

However, the more diverse the products, the more legal minimal & marketing demands they must meet. Hermes Hansecontrol has a high degree of competency in consultation and checking and covers the entire range of products with its checks. We are glad to support you in guaranteeing your customers high quality merchandising items.

For improved customer orientation, Hermes Hansecontrol has established its own test symbol for these products. With the label “Safe fan product” we assure exceptional quality, which goes beyond the legal minimum and marketing requirements. The quality and test label increases not only confidence in the brand but can also trigger the decisive impulse to buy.

For all further information on checks, test symbols, further education courses and seminars pertaining to merchandising items, please contact your respective sales representative or our customer service under by calling +49(0)40 300 33 73 73 10 or by sending an email.

In the past weeks further discussion have been held on the planned change of the compulsory country of origin labeling (“Made in” labeling) for consumer products. Media reports have mentioned dropping the label “Made in Germany” or an “improved consumer protection as a result of compulsory origin labeling” The background to this are the efforts of the European Union to introduce a compulsory labeling of the country of origin with the planned “Regulations on the Safety of Consumer Products” among other things.

The “Suggestion of Regulations on the Safety of Consumer Products” published already in February, 2013 plans in Article 7a unified, cross-industrial labeling of the country of origin for most consumer products based on the customs code. The suggestion was approved by the EU Parliament on April 15, 2014 on the first reading. The “Made in” labeling was also part of the parliamentary decision.

The ball is now in the court of the newly elected EU Parliament. It could soon make a final decision on the draft. The law would then be applicable from 2015.

The law, however, has not received majority approval by expert ministers of the EU Commission. This means it may take some time for the final decision is implemented.

Since the representatives of Germany among others have voted against important contents, e.g. Article 7 (“Made in” labeling), there will be some clear changes made to the regulation on product safety.

The draft of the regulations on product safety contains, apart from the “Made in” labeling, further provisions on product labeling (e.g. manufacturer’s labeling, product identification, CE labeling) as well as on product safety and will replace directive 2001/95/EC and directive 87/357/EEC.

In case of any questions about this topic please get in touch with your respective sales representative or our customer service by calling +49(0)40 300 33 73 73 10 or by sending an email.

For online sale of products, for instance lamps, vacuum cleaners, dishwashers, washing machines, or TVs, new regulations apply immediately. These apply to products which fall under delegated regulation 518/2014 and under directive 2010/30/EU for labeling of products relevant to energy consumption and delegated regulations pertaining to them.

Whereas until now the order in which the corresponding information must be shown in cases of distance selling was defined, new regulation 518/2014 stipulates that – based on the type of product – allocation of the corresponding labels and data sheets must be shown by the supplier or by notice next to the product price. The regulation gives details of the required technical details and even defines the size of font for the alternative text in case a label cannot be shown. The regulation has been effective from the beginning of June, 2014 and is applicable immediately in all member states.

Suppliers and vendors of products relevant to energy consumption should check the availability of the data and update their websites accordingly. You can find details of the regulations on the website of the European Union.

If you have any questions about this topic, please feel free to get in touch with your respective sales representative or our customer service team by calling +49(0)40 - 33 73 73 10 or by sending an email.

News from May 2014

Carcinogenic nitrosamines may be formed in the manufacturing of articles of daily use made from natural rubber or latex. Due to their toxic effect, the legislative authority has defined migration thresholds not only for the nitrosamines but also for the nitrosatable precursor chemicals in the German Commodity Ordinance. Nitrosamines and nitrosatable amines basically emerge during the vulcanization from specific vulcanization accelerators or during the production process from specific additives containing amine.

A transformation can take place not only during the production but also in connection therewith. The nitric oxides NOx as well as nitrite required for the nitrosation are also present even in the air and in the human saliva. Therefore it is important in case of articles for small children such as baby pacifiers and baby bottles, toys and parts of toys made from elastomers as well as finger paints to monitor the production process and to examine the finished products for nitrosamines and N-nitrosatable substances. The development of the essential test methods for this purpose is very time consuming and requires a special analytics which, if at all, only a few laboratories can afford. Hermes Hansecontrol has developed new corresponding test methods in their own laboratory and has procured state-of-the-art measuring equipment, which can detect not only nitrosamines but also the N-nitrosatable substances.

The inspection is carried out based on two norms:

  • On the one hand as per DIN EN 12868 for bottles and soothers made from elastomers or rubber or natural rubber or synthetic rubber.
  • On the other hand as per DIN EN 71-12. This is applicable for toys made from elastomers and intended for use by children under 3 years as well as for toys made from elastomers, which are intended to be placed in the mouth and for finger paints intended for children under 3 years. Especially balloons made from natural or synthetic rubber and teether rings fall under the norms for safety of toys.

If you have any questions about this topic, please feel free to get in touch with your respective sales representative or our customer service team by calling +49(0)40-300 33 73 73 10 or by sending an email.

The Hermes Group offers a new service for manufacturers of electrical and electronic devices. Be it refrigerators, smartphones, tablet PCs, or television sets: Within the scope of returns management, Hermes takes over the responsibility to fetch goods from dealers or from consumers throughout Germany, the classification and treatment of goods, the re-stocking as well as the exchange of warranty goods.

In case of this first-hand Reverse Management System the experts at Hermes check the flawless function of the returned devices, repair defective articles also in case of guaranty and warranty or recondition them for further marketing as manufacturing seconds. Hermes Hansecontrol researches, in this connection, peculiar devices with a significant error rate with regard to quality assurance, in order to provide instructions to the manufacturers for product improvement.

The new value-adding service also includes the recycling and marketing of legacy devices through the cooperation partner Reverse Logistics Group (RLG). According to his philosophy “Return to value” the specialist for disposal and recycling management solutions disposes the hazardous substances present in the devices in an environment-friendly way and recycles the existing scrap.

For example, valuable metals such as gold, indium, or copper are present in hard disks or memory cards, which are required for development of new technologies.

Through collection and disposal of electronic legacy devices, the manufacturers fulfill their product responsibility as per WEEE Directive and can gain additional revenues through re-use and marketing. This new service by Hermes Group reduces the organizational effort for the manufacturers of electronic goods and is suitable to bind customers to the own brand in the long run.

If you have any questions about this topic, please feel free to get in touch with your respective sales representative or our customer service team by calling +49(0)40-300 33 73 73 10 or by sending an email.

The harmonization of the statutory provisions within the European Union has progressed further. Significant amendments of the existing directive for Electromagnetic Compatibility 2004/108/EC and the Low Voltage Directive 2006/95/EC now necessitate an amended version of these directives. The amended version was published on March 29, 2014 under the directives 2014/30/EU and 2014/35/EU.

The most important amendments in both directives concern the new added chapter 2, which describes the responsibilities of the manufacturers, authorized persons, importers and dealers: The manufacturers must ensure that their products in the market are designed and manufactured as per the safety objectives. They create the technical documents (including operating instructions in the respective language) and carry out the conformity assessment procedure or get it carried out. Furthermore, they issue an EU declaration of conformity, add the CE marking and ensure that the contact details, the registered trade name or trade mark and a suitable identification mark are affixed on the product.

  • The manufacturer must also ensure through a suitable procedure that all finished products comply with the requirements of the directive. This can also include sample checks in the market.
  • The authorized persons do not take over previously mentioned responsibilities of the manufacturers. However, they must store the EU declaration of conformity and the technical documents for ten years.
  • The importers must ensure that the manufacturer has carried out the conformity assessment procedure and has created the technical documents. Besides, they must store these for ten years and must provide them to the authorities upon demand. The importers check if the electrical equipment is marked appropriately and if the required instructions and safety information have been provided along with it. Subsequently, they must add their name and their address on the product itself, additionally the packaging and in the documents provided along.
  • The dealers must check if the CE marking and the name of the manufacturer and, if required, of the importer are added to the electrical equipment and if the required documents and instructions are also provided along.

Furthermore, an increased obligation with regard to the retraceability of electrical equipment is introduced for all economic operators. From April 20, 2016 onward not only the new EMV Directive 2014/30/EU but also the new Low Voltage Directive 2014/35/EU will be applicable. The existing directives will become void from this point in time onward.

If you have any questions about this topic, please feel free to get in touch with your respective sales representatiev or our customer service team by calling +49(0)40-300 33 73 73 10 or by sending an email.

The German thresholds for specific heavy metals in toys have to be adjusted. This has been decided by the European Court of Law in Luxembourg (legal case T-198/12). Accordingly the Federal Republic of Germany must adopt the European upper limits for arsenic, mercury, and antimony in national law. However, the Federal Government can file an appeal.

The reason for the judicial dispute between Germany and the EU commission is different risk assessments. Until now, German law has mandated uniform thresholds for every heavy metal. It doesn’t matter if the material is a solid, liquid, or dusty material. The Federal Government brought forward the argument that the safety of children would be ensured more through this regulation than through the EU limits.

The judges of the European Court of Law have rejected this point of view on the grounds that the EU commission has defined more strict upper limits for dusty and liquid materials (such as crayon or soap bubble fluid) than Germany. In that they followed the argumentation of the commission that the risk for children depends on the material. While the upper limits defined by European law will be applicable in Germany for arsenic, mercury, and antimony in future, the commission will have to define new limits for lead.

If you have any questions about toy examinations, please feel free to get in touch with your respective sales representative or our customer service team by calling +49(0)40-300 33 73 73 10 or by sending an email.

A new regulation of the European Commission shall bring down the electric power consumption of electrical appliances and thereby reduce the emission of CO2. According to the experts, a huge potential for energy saving lies especially in networked standby mode for household and office equipment. Therefore the European Commission has passed a further regulation (REG. 801/2013) in August, 2013 for implementation of Ecodesign requirements for electrical and electronic equipment. Even though the new regulation will come into effect only in the coming year, it is advisable to comply with these requirements immediately while designing the equipment.

The concrete amendments pertain to regulation REG. (EC) No. 1275/2008 and (EC) No. 642/2009. These include new rules inclusive concrete consumption limit values for networked equipment, networked equipment with high network availability (e.g. routers, hubs, or modems) as well as television sets and coffee machines. Its requirements will be amended from 2015 in up to 2 further steps (2017 and 2019). For instance from January, 2015 a function is required to minimize the consumption, so that the equipment switches automatically to the standby- or off-mode. In addition, any networked equipment that can be connected to a wireless network shall offer the user the possibility to deactivate the wireless network connection.

As of January 1, 2015, this information must be visibly displayed on manufacturers’ freely accessible websites in a defined scope.

Hermes Hansecontrol supports you to comply with these new criteria for electrical equipment and offers you corresponding tests. For further questions please contact our customer service team by calling +49(0)40 300 33 73 73 10 or by sending an email.

At the 12th merchandising trade show in Hamburg held in the lodge area of the Imtech Arena from January 15 and 16, more than 100 exhibitors presented themselves to a large number of professional visitors including marketing experts, merchandising pros, representatives from the German federal football league clubs and sports association as well as buyers from the areas of commerce and industry, who use merchandising products. The merchandise exhibited ranges from fan t-shirts to cups and branded toasters.

Every year in Hamburg, the most innovative merchandise is also nominated and distinguished with the Best Innovation Award. This year, this distinction was awarded to the fanfin distributed by the company Fanflosse Vertrieb Deutschland / KKM Thüringen Live GmbH & Co. KG of Erfurt.

The fin, which was invented in Thuringia, has an appearance and design resembling that of a shark fin. It is fitted with three strong neodymium magnets and can be mounted on various areas all over car exteriors. The fin can be printed with a wide range of motifs for merchandising purposes. The product, which is manufactured and sold in Germany, has been tested by recognized labs for compliance with safety criteria. As Hermes Hansecontrol also supports innovative ideas, our lab tested the fanfin for harmful substances and has now awarded it the Hansecontrol “Sicherer Fanartikel” (Safe merchandising article) test label. Football fans are now free to enjoy the fins in celebration of the upcoming World Cup in Brazil.

If you are also interested in testing your innovative product and distinguishing it with a Hansecontrol test symbol, please feel free to get in touch with your respective sales representative or our customer service team by calling +49 (0) 40 300 33 73 73 10 or by sending an email.

The transitional provision for the energy consumption labeling of lights and electric lamps ends in March, 2014. As reported in a previous newsletter, the new provisions for energy consumption labelling have already been in effect since September 1, 2013. The EU Commission has, however, provided for the transitional provision in the “Delegated regulation 874/2012”. Now that it has expired, only lights and lamps with the new EU energy label may be on display as of March 1, 2014. This will ensure further restriction of conventional light bulbs.

At the same time, the EU also plans to give suppliers incentives to offer more energy-efficient products. The uniform design of the label with respect to appearance and content will also serve to help consumers when comparing and selecting an energy-saving product.

The current regulation defines new, binding regulations for suppliers and vendors. They apply both for the print on the packaging and for product information, information in technical documents, the data sheet and all product advertising.

The energy efficiency classes are rated in groups from A++ to E. The label must contain additional information on the name or trademark of the supplier, model number, energy efficiency class and energy consumption.

Overview of supplier duties:

  • Provision of the product data sheet or label
  • Provision of technical documents (as requested by authorities)
  • Specification of the energy efficiency class in all advertising and quotations
  • Specification of the energy efficiency class in technical information
  • Allocation of the label on all individual packages on display at a point of sale

Overview of vendor duties:

  • The corresponding label with information on the energy efficiency class must be clearly visible for every product on display or otherwise offered for sale/rent
  • Specification of the energy efficiency class in all advertising including information relating to energy or price information
  • Specification of energy efficiency class in technical advertising material with information on the specific technical parameters.

On March 1, 2014, a new stage of EU regulation 1194/2012 also came into effect, which also demands a life-cycle test of 6000 hours for LEDs. Hermes Hansecontrol of course also offers these tests. Our customer service team can be reached at +49(0)40 300 33 73 73 10 to answer any other questions you may have. You can also attend special seminars on this topic held in our training rooms in Hamburg.

The European Commission is charged with passing regulations for energy-related products if they offer a significant potential for saving energy. Preliminary studies have shown that a significant portion of the total energy requirement of the EU is attributed to household appliances like ovens, hobs and vent hoods, for which reason a new regulation is required. On February 20, 2014, a new regulation on energy consumption labelling and new guidelines on the environmentally-friendly design of household ovens, hobs and vent hoods came into effect.

A) Energy Consumption Labeling of Household Ovens and Vent Hoods

It is imperative that the “Delegated regulation (EU) NO. 65/2014” is applied from January 1, 2015 on (with a few exceptions).

In the process, the new regulation defines new, binding regulations for suppliers and vendors. They apply both for the print on packaging and for product information, information in technical documents, the data sheet and all product advertising.

The energy efficiency class for household ovens is rated in groups from A+++ to D. With vent hoods, there is a progressive increase in energy efficiency classes. First of all, they are classified from A to G. Until January 1, 2020, the classes A+++ to D shall be reached.

Overview of supplier duties:

  • Provision of the product data sheet or label
  • Provision of technical documents (as requested by authorities)
  • Specification of the energy efficiency class in all advertising and quotations
  • Specification of the energy efficiency class in technical information
  • Provision of an electronic product data sheet or label

Overview of vendor duties:

  • The corresponding label with information on the energy efficiency class must be clearly visible for every product on display or otherwise offered for sale/rent.
  • Specification of the energy efficiency class in all advertising including information relating to energy or price information.
  • Specification of energy efficiency class in technical advertising material with information on the specific technical parameters.

B) Environmentally-Friendly Design of Household Ovens, Hobs, and Vent Hoods

The “Delegated Regulation (EU) No. 66/2014)” entered into effect on February 20, 2014 too. The new Ecodesign requirements must be fulfilled in multiple stages over the next five years. They also apply for household ovens (as well as for ovens integrated in stoves), hobs and vent hoods if they are not sold for household use.

According to the regulations, the products are assessed in terms of energy efficiency, operational characteristics and product information. This serves to reduce the total expenses both for the acquisition and operation of such products.

If you have any questions about this topic, please feel free to get in touch with your respective sales representative or our customer service team by calling +49(0)40 – 33 73 73 10 or by sending an email.

News from January to April 2014

Recently, negative media reports about live plucking have surfaced yet again. For companies, it is indeed difficult to ensure that the products they sell do not contain feathers and down that originate from conditions of animal cruelty. This should, however, be ruled out as live plucking is banned in the EU and there is a high level of consumer awareness with respect to this issue.

In most cases, feathers and down originate from breeding ducks and geese. In general, plucking should take place after the animals are slaughtered. In some cases, however – often without observing natural moulting periods – the feathers are painfully plucked from living animals. Sometimes this results in severe injuries. On the other hand, only feather and down of animals from species-appropriate husbandry that are not slaughtered too young, offer a satisfactory quality. For this reason alone, it is recommended that you refrain from buying goods from establishments that are unable to offer any guarantee in this respect.

Based on the down or feathers themselves, it cannot be determined as to whether they come from living or dead birds afterwards. Track and trace methods or corresponding seals are a reliable way of determining the origin of goods. However, certificates of this kind should be verified in terms of their origin and reliability.

This makes quality assurance for the ordered goods all the more important. Hermes Hansecontrol therefore offers comprehensive consulting for all requirements of products with feathers and down. In addition to compliance with minimum hygiene standards, products should be tested for potential harmful substances: Feathers and down may contain, among other things, biocides in general, formaldehyde, PCP, PCB and dimethylfumarat.

There is also the possibility of performing microscopic identification, for example, of the genus (duck, goose etc.) to the extent the filling material to be examined does not originate from very young animals whose feathers and down have not yet reached maturity.

If you have any questions about this topic, please feel free to get in touch with your respective sales representative or our customer service team by calling +49(0)40 - 33 73 73 10 or by sending an email.

For the first time ever, legislation has been passed that explicitly regulates the occurrence of PAHs in toys and toddler products.

The European Commission has passed such requirements as part of an amendment of Annex XVII to the REACh Regulation 1907/2006. The Official Journal L 328/71 of the European Union states the following in this regard:

“Toys, including activity toys, and products for infants and toddlers shall not be introduced to the market if one of their components of plastic or rubber, which – when used in a normal or reasonably foreseeable manner comes into direct, prolonged, or repeated brief contact with human skin or the oral cavity – contains more than 0.5 mg/kg (0.00005 weight per cent w/w of such a component) of one of the listed PAHs.” A limit of 1.0 mg/kg applies for other products made from the specified components and utilisation properties.

The regulation applies to products placed on the market for the first time on December 27, 2015 and includes the following eight PAHs:

  • Benzo(a)anthracene
  • Benzo[a]pyrene
  • Benzo[e]pyrene
  • Benzo[a]anthracene
  • Chrysene
  • Benzo[b]fluoranthene
  • Benzo[j]fluoranthene
  • Benzo[k]fluoranthene
  • Dibenzo[a,h]anthracene

If the concentration in one of the listed PAHs is found to exceed 0.5mg/kg in a toy or infant's product or 1.0 mg/kg in other products, then the product shall no longer meet market conformity.

If you have any questions about this topic, please feel free to get in touch with your respective sales representative or our customer service team by calling +49(0)40 - 33 73 73 10 or by sending an email.

The Hermes Hansecontrol booth garnered widespread attention at the Toy Fair in Nuremberg from January 29 to February 3, 2014. The Hamburg company presented its testing, consulting, and certification services under the motto “Your product is in the best hands with us”. International manufacturers, importers and vendors took particular interest in the risk assessment of toys. This enhanced product test goes well beyond existing legislation to offer a much higher level of consumer safety. The international Toy Fair brought industry professionals from around the world to Nuremberg and presented new products and industry trends in an area spanning 170,000 square meters.

“The response was very substantial. We engaged in very successful talks with our customers and made a lot of new contacts. We are very pleased with the result of the trade fair”, summarizes Christian Gerling, Head of Business Development at the Hermes Hansecontrol Group. In addition to the risk assessment, the international presence of the Hermes Hansecontrol Group was also in focus for visitors. With its locations in Asia, the company is directly present at the production sites for toys and is thus accommodating the growing demand for test services in production countries.

Hermes Hansecontrol is delighted by the positive response to the new test symbol. “It surpasses its predecessor by far and has a high recognition value. The Hermes Hansecontrol lettering has now been moved more into the foreground. The new test symbol offers specific information from the vendor about the certified product characteristics and a QR code with a link to the central test symbol database that provides more information about the tested product”, explains Christian Gerling.

Thursday evening at the booth was a genuine delight thanks to the “Time Out. Come In.” event. Two molecular cooks catered to numerous guests by preparing delicious meals. Molecular gastronomy puts the findings of modern food technology into practice and creates dainty artworks that provide entirely new taste sensations using, among other things, a water quench, vacuum cooking, dry ice or a nitrogen bath. Visitors ended the fair day with stimulating conversation and molecular delicacies in a relaxing atmosphere.

The winners of the Hermes Hansecontrol fair competition are, among others, friedola Gebr. Holzapfel GmbH, based in the Hessian town of Meinhard, and ARTSANA Germany GmbH, also based in Hesse, in the town of Dietzenbach. The staff are looking forward to attending an in-house training by Hermes Hansecontrol experts. Available are the seminar subjects "Toy Safety" and "The Equipment and Product Safety Act". In total, three winner tickets have been drawn.

The Blue Angel is one of the most widely known environmental labels in Germany. Since 1978, it has distinguished especially environmentally-friendly products and services. Now toys will also be able to receive the Blue Angel.

In cooperation between the German Federal Environment Ministry and the German Federal Environment Agency new criteria for awarding the environmental label for toys will be developed at the beginning of the year. Professional committees will then discuss further criteria.

Hermes Hansecontrol is also contributing its expertise in this field. Our experts will be participating in the development and discussion concerning requirement criteria.

If you have any questions about this topic, please feel free to get in touch with your respective sales representative or our customer service team by calling +49(0)40 - 33 73 73 10 or by sending an email.

The reputation of wooden toys is better than its test result. Such concluded a report in the December edition of Stiftung Warentest magazine. It tested and rated 30 wooden toys for children under three years of age. The results were sobering: Stiftung Warentest rated eight toys as good, six as satisfactory, nine as sufficient and seven as insufficient.

Now the German Toy Industry Association (DVSI) has issued with a statement criticising the evaluation method. The use of scholastic marks gives consumers the impression that products, which comply with legislation, pose a risk. “Furthermore, the test methods that were used used differ, in some cases greatly, from general testing standards”, Ulrich Brobeil, director of the DVSI was quoted. The association went on to state: “The resulting measurements vary, in some cases considerably, from measurements obtained by independent testing institutes that employed standardised test methods for the same toys.”

Stiftung Warentest tested, among other things, the mechanical safety of toys in accordance with DIN EN 71-1. The test also focused on biocides, dyes, flame retardants, formaldehyde, nickel, nitrosamines and nitrosable substances, PAH, phthalates, heavy metal, saliva and perspiration resistance.

Hermes Hansecontrol with its team is happy to partner with you in a constructive dialogue discussing this topic and conduct reproducible tests of your toys in accordance with valid standards and requirements.

If you have any questions about this topic, please feel free to get in touch with your respective sales representative or our customer service team by calling +49(0)40 - 33 73 73 10 or by sending an e-mail.

Recently, various brand-name companies, among them a major manufacturer of sportswear, have been in focus because parts of their products, which were labelled as faux fur (polyester), were actually made of cat fur. Not only do consumers react negatively to this issue, it also constitutes a clear violation of the banned import and resale of cat and dog fur in the EU.

Regulation no. 1523/2007 (EC), which has been in force since December, 2007, clearly regulates this ban; the Tiererzeugnis-Handels-Verbotsgesetz (act prohibiting the trading of (specific) animal products) has also been in force in Germany since December, 2008. Violations thereof are punished.

In general, product information for clothing and textile products must be provided in accordance with the Textile Labelling Regulation (1007/2011). This also applies for faux fur.

Applications of real fur must be labelled with “Contains non-textile parts of animal origin” in accordance with article 12 of this regulation. If a product is made up of more than 20 per cent real fur, it is not subject to a uniform EU-wide labeling requirement. However, additional national laws must be observed in some countries of the EU (e.g. in Switzerland, Austria).

The applicable brand indicates that it generally does not offer products containing any amount of real fur for resale. Nonetheless, cat fur was detected in hat pompons. In China, for example, cat fur is a waste product in food production, for which reason it can be purchased at a more affordable price than good faux fur. In order to prevent suppliers and vendors from using such price advantages and selling real animal fur as faux fur, reliable controls and testing of purchased goods are imperative. Hermes Hansecontrol offers a microscopic fibre analysis for this purpose. Though this test does not determine the exact species of animal, it is capable of reliably differentiating between artificial fibres, real hair as well as between faux fur and real fur. This test generally suffices since a DNA analysis is incapable of providing any definite results, particularly in the case of furs that have been dyed and treated.

If you have any questions about this topic, please feel free to get in touch with your respective sales representative or our customer service team by calling +49(0)40 - 33 73 73 10 or by sending an email.

Functional textiles, swimwear or footwear offer convenient properties. If they are water or oil repellent, PFCs – that is perfluorinated and polyfluorinated chemicals – are often used. PFCs have been in use in the clothing industry for around 50 years and have now come under criticism due to their potential health risk.

PFCs do not occur naturally but are synthetically manufactured. The most widely known PFCs are perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOA). PFOS and PFOA are not used directly for finishing textiles and footwear, but serve to manufacture the actual finishing chemicals and polytetrafluoroethylene membranes (PTFE membranes).

Nonetheless, residues of PFOS and PFOA can be detected in finished products – in functional textiles, swimwear and footwear, but also in carpets or treated leather. PFOS is classified as toxic to mammals and is therefore the object of legal bans across Europe. According to the “Regulation (EC) 850/2004 Concerning Persistent Organic Pollutants”, a restriction of 1µg/m² for coated textiles is in force.

PFOA is also classified as exhibiting similar harmful properties and has been included in the REACh candidate list as a substance of very high concern (SVHC). The Ökotex Standard 100 also stipulates restrictions for PFOA. There is, however, no harmonised legal regulation for Europe in place.

In 2014, Norway will lead Europe by introducing the same legal restriction for PFOS as currently applies to PFOS (1 µg/m²). The Norwegian restriction for PFOA poses a higher requirement to the product than the mass-based specifications in the Ökotex Standard 100.

For a light textile with a mass per unit area of 70 g/m², the restriction of 1 µg/m² would, for example, correspond to 0.014 mg/kg if converted to the mass-based specification. For leather with 500 g/m² the restriction of 1 µg/m² in reference to mass would therefore correspond to a mere 0.002 mg/kg. As a result, the new restriction on PFOA is 10 to 100 times lower than the restriction for babies in the Ökotex Standard 100 depending on the weight per unit area of the tested material. Hansecontrol has equipped its lab accordingly and is now able to offer testing against this new, lower restriction for PFOA in Hamburg.

With respect to water-repellent properties, there are now PFC-free alternatives to PTFE membranes such as membranes based on polyester/polyether polymers or water-proof finishes, for example, based on polyurethanes. There is also a PFC-free finishing method, for example, based on a polyurethane prepolymer emulsion, paraffin wax chains or dendrimers. The PFC-free finishes offer water-repellent properties whose effectiveness even exceeds that of conventional products. However, oil-repellent properties can only be achieved with products containing PFC.

Effective immediately, Hermes Hansecontrol is capable of testing PFOA and PFOS in textiles, footwear, carpets and similar products against the restriction of 1 µg/m². At the same time, Hermes Hansecontrol is continuing to expand the area of textile physics in order to test functional textiles. The next article in this newsletter offers more details.

If you have any questions about this topic, please feel free to get in touch with your respective sales representative or our customer service team by calling +49(0)40 - 33 73 73 10 or by sending an email.

Our revised, up-to-date Hansecontrol test label is breaking new ground for you! A new, modern and eye-catching test label from the testing institute that stands for more than 30 years of experience in quality testing and product security: Hansecontrol.

Just as with the Hermes test label, our new test label also offers the possibility of selecting key words to emphasize particular product characteristics or adding a QR code linking directly to our test symbol database.

Effective immediately, you can use this test label for you new projects, but also continue to use existing test labels up to the end of the certificate term, no later than up to December 31, 2014. Existing framework agreements with Hansecontrol Zertifizierungsgesellschaft mbH regulating the use of the test label will remain in effect – also for the new test label. Framework agreements for the old Hansecontrol test label will expire.

We look forward to cooperating with you further in successfully introducing your products to the market – with our test label that embodies qualify for many of your customers.

If you have any questions about this topic, please feel free to get in touch with your respective sales representative or our customer service team by calling +49(0)40 - 33 73 73 10 or by sending an email.

Seven additional substances of very high concern (SVHC) were added to the REACh-SVHC candidate list on December 16, 2013. The list now includes 151 SVHC substances. The following substances were recently added:

  • dihexyl phthalate (DnHP), an additional phthalate plasticiser that can be used in plastics
  • imidazolidin-2-thion, a vulcanisation accelerator for synthetic rubbers
  • two pigments (C.I. Direct Red 28 and C.I. Direct Black 38)
  • trixylylphosphate, a flame retardant for synthetics
  • lead diacetate
  • cadmium sulphite

Theoretically, the newly listed substances may be present in numerous consumer products. Once new substances have been added to the candidate list, manufacturers, importers and suppliers are obligated to immediately comply with their duty to provide information pursuant to Article 33 REACh regulation. This means: As soon as a product contains a substance from the candidate list in a concentration exceeding 0.1 per cent by weight, commercial customers or consumers must be provided with information about the constituent substance and safe use (within 45 days if requested).

Furthermore, manufacturers or importers of products in connection with SVHC have, under certain circumstances, a duty to provide notification to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). From the date, on which new substances are added, companies have six months to comply with their duty to provide notification.

If you have any questions about this topic, please feel free to get in touch with your respective sales representative or our customer service team by calling +49(0)40 - 33 73 73 10 or by sending an email.

Part of the toy safety standard has been revised and released in a new version. The revision affected the first part concerning mechanical and physical characteristics.

In addition to updating normative references, the focus was also on various changes to the determination of noise pressure. The terms and definitions for close-to-the-ear toys, hand-held toys, rattles, squeaky toys as well as tabletop and floor toys were revised among other things.

The acoustic requirements for A-weighted, time-averaged noise emitted pressure level as well as the C-weighted emitted peak noise pressure level were also adjusted. They now apply without exception for toys designed to produce noise. In order to render the actual duration of noise emissions during use, three exposure categories were included, which also reflect fluctuations when using the toy.

In addition to the revision of the requirements and limits, the acoustic testing procedures were also revised. The warning notice for certain percussion toys was also updated. DIN EN 71-1 2013-12 has been available since December. The current version replaces DIN EN 71-1:2011-07 and the DIN EN 71-1 correction 1:2013-06; the versions specified may still be used until the end of September 2014.

If you have any questions about this topic, please feel free to get in touch with your respective sales representative or our customer service team by calling +49(0)40 - 33 73 73 10 or by sending an email.

When the leading international fair for toys, hobby and leisure activities opens its doors in Nuremberg from January 29, 2014 to February 3, 2014, Hermes Hansecontrol will also be along for the ride. For the international testing and certification company, getting a glance at the latest trends in the sector is as important as fostering and expanding business relations. Hermes Hansecontrol is presenting itself at the toy fair in Nuremberg as a strong partner for its customers, who offers a complete portfolio – from consulting to project supervision right up to and including quality assurance along the entire production chain.

From Hermes Hansecontrol, CEO Lutz Lehmann, from the sales area, Gerrit Uhe and Aria Slama, Roy Yim, Sales Manager Manager Hong Kong and Hendrik Dold from marketing will all be on location. Around 2,700 national and international manufacturers will be presenting their latest products and services in Nuremberg. Approximately 72,500 buyers and professional vendors from more than 100 countries use the toy fair as a platform for communication and ordering.

Hermes Hansecontrol at the Toy Fair in Nuremberg: Hall 11.1, booth number G-01, H-02.

Hermes Hansecontrol has yet again expanded the range of textile physical tests it offers.

In the newsletter of November, 2013, we already reported that Hermes Hansecontrol is testing textiles for water vapour permeability in accordance with the two leading global standards: the American ASTM E 96 and the Japanese JIS L 1099 (method A1 and A2). An additional device for testing resistance to water vapour permeability and total thermal resistance for functional textiles is now available.

Hermes Hansecontrol is one of the first labs in Europe to also offer express testing services. Test results are delivered to the customer within 24 hours. Hermes Hansecontrol's standard service offers a testing time of three days. The range of testing services performed in Hermes Hansecontrol's textile-physical lab includes sweat conductivity, which is tested in accordance with AATCC 79, water impermeability determined in a hydrostatic pressure test most commonly known as water column and air permeability in accordance with international standards.

If you have any questions about this topic, please feel free to get in touch with your respective sales representative or our customer service team by calling +49(0)40 - 33 73 73 10 or by sending an email.


Prüfinstitut Hansecontrol GmbH

Schleidenstrasse 1
22083 Hamburg
Germany
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