Twenty six styles of sunglasses have been recalled from sale after failing a standards test conducted on behalf of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Acting ACCC Chairman, Mr Allan Asher, said today that the ACCC had bought 30 pairs of sunglasses to test - and 26 had failed to meet the standard.

"The sunglasses were bought in Sydney in November last year and tested in accordance with the Australian Standard by Unisearch Optics and Radiometry at the University of NSW.

"An appalling 26 out of the 30 styles did not comply with the Standard. The sunglasses' suppliers have undertaken to remove them from sale immediately, and publish advertisements in major daily metropolitan newspapers recalling them.

"The problems with the sunglasses vary. They include:

  • the lenses are too narrow which allows ultra violet light penetration from the side;
  • the lenses allow too much ultra violet light through;
  • the lenses are too dark for use when driving;
  • the lenses are not uniform;
  • the glasses are incorrectly labelled or not labelled at all;
  • the glasses have not been labelled with required warnings; or
  • the glasses have refractive problems which may cause discomfort to the wearer by blurring their vision."

The mandatory safety standard for sunglasses and fashion spectacles requires compliance with Australian Standard AS1067.1-1990. A mandatory safety standard is a standard which has been gazetted by the Federal Minister for Consumer Affairs and declares it as a mandatory safety standard and is enforced by the Commission under the Trade Practices Act. All products must conform to the standard.

"The main aim of the sunglass standard is to ensure that sunglasses and fashion spectacles provide adequate protection against solar ultra violet radiation, thereby reducing the risk of damage to eyesight."

"The standard also sets out to identify lenses which make it difficult to recognise lights, such as traffic lights and other defects in the roadway whilst driving."

"Many people wear sunglasses either as a fashion item or to assist them to deal with rapid light changes, such as some people who wear contact lenses. It is imperative that regular users do not inadvertently risk damage to their eyes because the sunglasses fail them in some way."

"The ACCC has the responsibility for ensuring compliance with mandatory consumer product safety standards under the Trade Practices Act 1974 since July 1 last year. This function was formerly carried out by the Federal Bureau of Consumer Affairs.

"The enforcement of safety standards is a priority area for the Commission. The Act provides penalties of up to $200 000 for corporations and $40 000 for individuals supplying goods that do not comply with a the standard.

"The ACCC will now consider what further action, if any, it will take in connection with the breaches it has detected and will continue to monitor sunglasses to ensure the Standard is met."