New CEN standard - European standards for toy safety: CEN published new EN 71-3 on migration of certain elements 

Toy safety is an area in which CEN and CENELEC have traditionally been very active. Indeed, given the common presence of toys in all households and their proximity to children, it is not a surprise that standardization has already a long history in ensuring their safety. The first standards on the domain were developed even before the establishment of the Single Market: the first European standard for toys, EN 71-1 ‘Safety of toys - Mechanical and physical properties’, was published in 1979.

From then onwards, the whole architecture of toy safety standardization was built. Existing European Standards are constantly evolving and are based on Directive 2009/48/EC, also known as the ‘Toy Safety Directive’, which is the main text of reference for the harmonisation of safety rules across the Single Market.
The most recent addition to the EN 71 series is CEN standard EN 71-3 ‘Safety of toys - Part 3: Migration of certain elements’, which has been published on 10th April 2019 and now awaits citation in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU).
In particular, EN 71-3 focusses on limiting the risk of dangerous substances transferring from toys to the children using them. The text specifies the maximum migration limits of 19 chemical elements for the following categories of toy materials, with the order to minimise child exposure to certain potentially toxic elements:

  • Category I: Dry, brittle, powder like or pliable materials;
  • Category II: Liquid or sticky materials;
  • Category III: Scraped-off materials.

The approved standard is a revision of a previously existing 2013 version. It innovates on it by providing new reliable methods for the determination of the elements’ migration. The test methods were validated in a round robin test and are capable to check compliance with the limits set in the Toys Safety Directive 2009/48/EC.

The main novelties introduced by the text of the standard are:

  • A new method for Cr(VI) having a quantification limit a factor of two lower than the lowest limit for Cr(VI) in the Toy Safety Directive;
  • A modified method for organic tin compounds with an increased extraction yield improving the detection limit and repeatability significantly;
  • Validated methods for filtration that improve the results and simplify filtration work in the laboratory;
  • The method for pH control ensures that the samples are always tested at the pH intended.

EN 71-3 was developed by CEN/TC 52 ‘Safety of Toys’, whose Secretariat is held by Danish Standards (DS).

If you want to know more about standardization for toy safety, you can read the series of articles we wrote in December 2018, in occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the EU Single Market:

For more information, please contact Claire Dalier.