ASSOCIATIONS

Anfao still in the front line of the battle against counterfeiting

With the Ministry for Economic Development and eight consumer associations, a guide to the dangers of counterfeit eyeglasses

As part of the protocol of understanding signed in 2010 by the Ministry for Economic Development and consumer associations ACU, ADICONSUM, ADOC, ASSOUTENTI, CODICI, FEDERCONSUMATORI, MOVIMENTO CONSUMATORI and MOVIMENTO DIFESA DEL CITTADINO, five consumer guides were presented today in Rome under the title "IO NON VOGLIO IL FALSO" (I don't want fakes).

 

Food, apparel and accessories (footwear, eyewear and leather goods), cosmetics, toys, car/motorcycle spare parts and household appliances: these are the product sectors selected for the first series of information for consumers about the dangers of counterfeit products and the damage they cause.

 

The five guides describe financial damage and, more importantly, the health risks posed by counterfeit products. The majority of consumers are aware of the former but they are fairly unaware of the latter.

In this context Anfao has collaborated on the preparation of the eyewear section of the "Apparel and Accessories" guide, with special focus on sunglasses, the counterfeiting of which reaches a peak during the summer with the increase in street vendors and ad hoc stalls at coastal resorts.

In addition to describing the financial damage for the sector and the economy as a whole, the guide focuses on the damage to health that could be the result of fake eyewear.

 

Whether it is a medical device (prescription glasses) or personal protection equipment (sunglasses), eyewear is used to correct and protect eyesight.

 

Counterfeit sunglasses in particular are frequently bought without realizing that they put eye health at risk. In fact not everyone knows that sunglasses are first category "personal protection equipment" (PPE) for protecting the eyes from solar rays (EEC directive 89/686 adopted in Italy under Leg. Dec. 475/1992).

 

Safety concerns not only the conformity of the lens but also that of the frame. The lens must protect the eyes from harmful solar radiation (ultraviolet light and blue light). It must also attenuate the intensity of light by reducing glare. The frame must be made from non-toxic materials that will not create skin problems (contact dermatitis, for example).

 

The guide emphasizes how important it is that consumers should not underestimate the purchase of sunglasses. When buying them, which should always be through an authorized channel, attention must be paid to all requirements and, primarily, that they have the CE marking and a manufacturer's information note in the relevant language.

 

The note is, in fact, an essential element because it gives indispensable information about the product and how to use it correctly. The note must include the following information: the name and address of the manufacturer or its authorized agent in the European Community, instructions for use, cleaning, maintenance and preservation, the sun filter category (from 0 to 4, depending on light conditions) and warnings (for example, that the product is not suitable for direct viewing of the sun).

 

This information tells consumers about all the characteristics of the sunglasses they are buying and guarantees their safety and conformity compared with counterfeit products that do not have these requirements.

 

The new aspect of this campaign is the collaboration that has been established for the first time between consumer associations and the manufacturing world through trade associations like ANFAO, thanks to the Ministry for Economic Development's Director General for the Fight against Counterfeiting.

 

It is to be hoped, therefore, that this will increase consumer information and that with everyone's cooperation we can create the culture of legality and of protecting intellectual property and health that is still underdeveloped in our country.

 

In this context, ANFAO has always been in the front line.