In Germany, there is currently no legal directive for the labeling of risks especially on candles. More generalized responsibilities for the manufacturers can be found in directive no. 2001/95/EC which, besides other directives and decisions, has been transposed into the German „Geräte- und Produktsicherheitsgesetz“ (GPSG, Equipment and Product Safety Act).
In particular, Section 5 Para. 1 is relevant for the labeling of candles:
(1) The manufacturer, his authorised representative and the importer of a consumer product must perform the following within the framework of their business activity:
1. when bringing the product into circulation
a) ensure that the user receives the necessary information to enable him to assess and safeguard against the dangers which may emanate from the consumer product during the usual or reasonably foreseeable period of use and which are not immediately evident without corresponding instructions,
b) to apply the manufacturer´s name or, where the latter is not based within the European Economic Area, the name of the authorized representative or importer and their addresses to the consumer product or its packaging and to mark the consumer product in such a way that it can be clearly identified, unless it is justifiable to dispense with these details, in particular because these details are already known to the user or the application of these details would involve unreasonable expense or effort,
c) take precautions which are appropriate to the characteristics of the consumer product they have brought into circulation to enable them to arrange for measures suitable for the avoidance of dangers, through the taking back the consumer product, appropriate and effective warning and recall;
2. in the case of the consumer products brought into circulation which, depending on the degree of the hazard they involve and the possibilities of warding off such hazards, perform appropriate spot checks, review complaints and, where necessary, keep a complaints book and instruct dealers about further measures to be taken with respect to the consumer product.
In our opinion there is no legal duty to label common candles with warning information regarding the fire safety resulting from this because it is evident for all users that an open candle flame may be a fire risk.
However, accepting the responsibilities they have towards their products, the candle manufacturers initiated, funded and performed the development and adoption of European standards for the safe use of candles, cooperating with all interested and relevant parties.
After the standards became effective, we discussed their relevance for the product safety and the labeling of risks with representatives of the trade offices in Nürnberg and Würzburg, which are responsible to supervise the compliance with the GPSG in the federal state of Bavaria. We have made the following decision on the basis of these discussions and the state of the art and technology, expressed by the subsequent standards:
The European Candle Association ASBL (ECA) recommends to design and to produce products complying with the standards
- DIN EN 15426 Candles – Specification for sooting behaviour
- DIN EN 15493 Candles – Specification for fire safety
to its members and to apply the standard
- DIN EN 15494 Candles – Product safety labels
for the labeling.
Stuttgart, 19 May 2009