Thanks to sites like ebay,wish and aliexpress – even amazon and etsy now, the world is getting smaller. Its much easier to get what you need or want imported from across the globe, and its cheap too. There is a bit of a catch though, do you really know what goes into those products and are they safe for your toy making?
Fairly often you will see recalls for toys typically sold on the market, they are (usually) cheap plastic toys, and its usually the Phthalates which come into question. This is where the importer responsibilities haven’t been undertaken, and the items have failed the REACH testing. See an example: here
The benefits from buying from established shops within the EU are good. All goods imported/made within the EU have to reach a certain standard, generally the labelling is clear, and they will be certified for all the minimums, maybe not EN71-3, as we test for, but certificates for REACH including Phthalates levels in plastics, and AZO dyes, in fabrics, the importer/seller takes the responsibility for this. As we try to do all we can within our financial limits and due diligence, when buying from established companies within the EU we can mostly assume our materials already comply to REACH, and most companies can send you evidence of REACH standards if you are unsure.
How can you ensure the goods you are importing are safe?
As an importer of goods, you have responsibilities in ensuring the items imported are safe.
Ideally you would have the items tested in a lab for all the needed regulations, some factories abroad will provide you with REACH certificates but you’re advised to be very careful when checking certificates, as if your items are found to fail it would mean a recall, which isn’t good for business!
Another way of doing it is to create a declaration of REACH standards and have the overseas company stamp and sign it with their official stamp.
Should you check REACH certificates in general as well as EN71-3?
You may wish to ask manufacturers/suppliers for REACH certificates, especially if the materials used are unbranded, or you know they are imported. You can’t really be over diligent with this stuff, and all evidence for your technical file is good.
Being aware of what reach is and does will help:
Hopefully this helps when planning on importing goods!