EU body to give condom rubber stamp


"EUROCONDOMS", guaranteed to be of a minimum strength, length, width and quality, will soon be in the shops and other outlets of Europe.

The Brussels based European Committee for Standardisation (CEN), announcing specifications for natural rubber latex male condoms yesterday, said it wanted to reconcile different national requirements.

"We believe this is the most comprehensive and best standard in the world," Mr Stewart Sanson, the CEN head of promotions, said.

CEN said condoms should be at least 170 mm (6.8 ins) long and 44 to 56 mm (1.76 to 2.24 ins) wide.

This will allow manufacturers to sell different sized condoms in some European countries for the first time, CEN said in a statement issued yesterday.

Stressing that condoms are a reliable and cheap contraceptive that also significantly reduce the risk of AIDS, CEN said it had outlined methods for testing their strength and detecting perforations.

The new standard will apply in the 15 European Union countries and Iceland, Norway and Switzerland and will help, according to CEN, to ensure that condoms can be sold across borders without having to meet a host of different requirements.

Mr Sanson said the standard known as EN600 was voluntary for now, meaning consumers will have to check the package to be sure the manufacturer followed it.

But a European Union law that must be implemented by June 1998 sets mandatory standards for condoms that manufacturers can meet by following the CEN guidelines.