Independent centre of excellence

FANCY DRESS COSTUME PRODUCT WITHDRAWALS HIGHLIGHTS NEED TO TEST FOR ALL LEGISLATION We are well aware of the dangers surrounding lanterns and candles that are synonymous with Halloween, but are we as aware of the fire hazards associated with Halloween dress up costumes? We could be putting our children at serious fire risk. Long floaty/swingy styled princess dresses and boy superhero flowing capes can easily brush by a naked flame and potentially catch fire.

Boo Halloween

It is a legal requirement for most retailers to ensure Toys and Dress up Costumes are tested to EN71 part 2, Flammability. This is called up within the Toy Directive 2009/48/EC. Here at The Analytical Laboratory, we can carry out your flammability testing to ensure your products conform to legal requirements and more importantly, are safe! We also have full EN71 testing capability and can ensure all your testing needs for toys and dress up costumes are met. To compliment EN71 testing, we have the added advantage at our on-site facility to test for chemical compliance for tests associated with children’s articles such as Phthalates, Formaldehyde and all other chemicals banned under REACH. Halloween safety tips to reduce the risk of fire:
  • Look for costumes made from 100% synthetic fibers like nylon or polyester.

Black Costume (Girl)

  • Avoid glitter. Not in all cases, but it tends to be more flammable.

Pink Material Shoes

  • Skip capes, trains, and dangling sleeves. These can not only drag and come into contact with naked flame, possibly from a lantern on someone’s front porch, but also pose a tripping hazard.

Little Vampire Costume

  • Use caution when creating your own DIY costumes. Stick with polyester, nylon, wool, and acrylic fabrics and make sure the costumes are not too loose-fitting / swingy in style.
  • Opt for battery-operated candles instead of lit ones for pumpkins.
  • Never leave candles or lit pumpkins unattended in your home
The Rapex alert service details measures taken to prevent or restrict the marketing or use of products posing a serious risk to the health and safety of consumers. Past alerts have included three product withdrawals for the popular Fancy Dress sector and demonstrated how careful suppliers have to be to ensure they comply with ALL relevant legislation. This week will see any number of vampires, ghouls, ghosts, superheroes, pirates, fairies and aliens wandering the streets - doing Trick or Treat giving the fancy dress costume business a major boost.


However, costumes withdrawn from the market in Sweden provide a warning for the industry throughout the EU. An “Alien Agent” outfit was withdrawn due to having azo dyes releasing 4-aminoazobenzene above the permitted levels, which made it non compliant with the REACH regulation. Two outfits were also withdrawn as they posed a risk for the environment because the plastic in the packaging contained cadmium above the permitted levels (measured value: up to 251 mg/kg). Although the actual fancy dress costume was compliant with EN71, the product as a whole did not comply with the REACH Regulation and with the requirements of the Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste and was therefore voluntarily withdrawn from the market. The Analytical Laboratory offers UKAS accredited testing for azo-dyes, packaging and other tests associated with Toy Safety and the REACH Regulation. For more information, contact Tim Smith or Steve Franklin on 0871 871 6020 or e-mail phone tim or steve


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Don't forget that this is your last chance to book onto this year's Understanding Product Safety for Fashion Accessories course which is taking place on Wednesday 12th November 2014.

If you would like to book your place onto this, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us on 0121 262 1024 or e-mail us at

To download a course booking form, please go to




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