Pens and crayons could be banned
Many children's colouring materials will no longer be sold across Europe after the Brussels bloc reportedly banned a range pencils, crayons and even watercolours.
The union tightened its restrictions over the limits of lead in children’s toys following concerns children could be eating pencils instead of colouring with them, according to German paper BILD.
But one MEP has blasted the decision, claiming the European Union should be focussing on much bigger issues instead of on children’s toys.
The ban was imposed to prevent children eating pencils
MEP Markus Ferber, Member of the CSU, said: "It would be better to tackle the big problems rather than restrict children in their creativity."
Nearly all children's colours contain the filler kaolin and the white pigment titania, which are minerals found in the Earth's crust.
Because they occur naturally, they contain the slightest trace of lead which can not be completely removed even using chemical materials.
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It would be better to tackle the big problems rather than restrict children in their creativity
MEP Markus Ferber, Member of the CSU
From now on pens can only be soled if they contain 2 milligrams of lead per kilogram of toy material, instead of the current 13.5 milligrams.
Lead levels in watercolours have also been reduced down to just 0.5 instead of 3.4 milligrams.
Those products outside of those limits will not be able to be sold in the EU, Bild said.
The union tightened its restrictions over the limits of lead in children’s toys
Pens can only be sold if they contain 2 milligrams of lead per kilogram
It is mainly light shades are affected by the changes, because they contain a lot of white pigments, but the Brussels bloc has decided to impose a blanket ban on all colouring sets – completely reducing the levels of lead that come into contact with children.
Even pencils and crayons sold in set will be affected- as if just one colour in the pack does not meet the lead limit the entire set can not be sold anymore.
The reduction comes following EU calculations which assumed a child eats 100 milligrams of the toy material every day – equal to munching on 18 pencils a year.
The European Commission has been contacted for comment.