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Porous plastic for toy safety

Porous plastic for toy safety
We present the article of Michael Flater and Stephanie Fullard from Porex Corporation.

Updates and Compliance with EU Toy Safety Directive 2009/48/EC

The toy industry represents an $84 billion business globally, consisting of many sub-markets, such as electronics, games/puzzles, and arts and crafts (including children's coloring markers) ["Statistics and Facts on the Toy Industry." Statista, 20 Aug. 2013 http://www.statista.com/topics/1108/toy-industry/]. As concern for user (child) safety continues to increase, legislative bodies are increasingly broadening regulations and guidelines to ensure consumer safety. Toy manufacturers, as well as their component suppliers, must be acutely aware of and strictly comply with these evolving regulations. One such legislative body, European Parliament, has recently updated toy safety regulations as a response to changing technologies in the materials and end-products sold to consumers. The EU Toy Safety Directive 2009/48/EC was passed and became effective in 2011, and on July 20, 2013, the chemical requirements of the standard EN 71-3 came into effect.

What Is EN 71-3?

The Toy Safety Directive requires that toys be manufactured to prevent exposure to harmful chemicals ["Toy Safety Directive 2009/48/EC." European Parliament and Council of the European Union, 9 Aug. 2013]. EN 71 is a toy safety-testing standard, which consists of 11 distinct segments and contains test methods to demonstrate that requirements under the Directive are met. Assessments under EN 71 include testing of physical and mechanical properties, flammability, chemical properties, electrical properties, and radioactivity.

EN 71-3:2013, Migration of Certain Elements, is a standard that sets migration limits and contains requirements and test methods for the migration of targeted elements. Recent updates to this standard include an increase in chemical testing requirements from 8 heavy metal elements to 19, the addition of reporting categories of toy materials, and changes to the migration limits ["EN 71-3: 2013 Safety of Toys Part 3: Migration of certain elements." European Committee for Standardization, 9 Aug. 2013]. The 19 elements now included in the standard are: aluminum, antimony, arsenic, barium, boron, cadmium, chromium (III), chromium (VI), cobalt, copper, lead, manganese, mercury, nickel, selenium, strontium, tin, organic tin, and zinc. The migration limits vary according to the category of material utilized in the manufacture of the toy. Categories of toy materials include dry, brittle, powder-like, or pliable materials; liquid or sticky materials; and materials that may be scraped-off.

Why Is EN 71-3 Important?

The goal of the EU Toy Safety Directive 2009/48/EC is to protect children from harmful substances that may be found in toy products. Except under special conditions, substances classified as "CMRs" (i.e. carcinogenic, mutagenic, or toxic for reproduction) are prohibited in
toys. Products meeting the chemical testing requirements of EN 71-3 now comply with EU Toy Safety Directive 2009/48/EC, which prevents exposure to CMR substances.