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EU Harmonizes Safety Requirements for Toy Chemistry Sets and Similar Toys

July 2, 2013

The European Committee on Standardization (CEN) has revised the harmonized standards for children's toys (EN 71-4:2013) (EU), Toy Safety Directive 2009/48/EC through the publication of Communication 2013/C 149/02 on May 28, 2013, which aligns the EU safety requirements for toy chemistry sets and similar toys.

The Toy Safety Directive's new chemical requirements take effect from July 20, 2013, but the deadlines for EN 71-4:2013 to be published by the CEN national standards bodies (NSBs) will not take place until August 2013. This potential conflict has been avoided by several NSBs, including BSI in the UK, who have already published their national version of the standard.

Some of the noted changes for EN 71-4:2013 from the previous 2009 version include:

  • Experimental sets for mineralogy, biology, physics, microscopy and environmental science are covered if they contain one or more chemical substances and/or mixtures which are classified as hazardous according to the CLP Regulation
  • Chemical danger symbols have been changed to reflect the Global Harmonised System (GHS) of classification and labeling of chemicals.
  • The options for crystal growing sets were very limited under the 2009 standard, but have now been expanded with some new requirements including a list of 19 allowed substances, six of which were not previously permitted.
  • Substrates (e.g. Plaster of Paris (gypsum), stones, minerals, etc.) on which crystals may be grown shall comply with EN 71-5 (labeling and instructions)
  • Of the eight allowed substances that may be supplied in a carbon dioxide generating experimental set, five substances were not permitted to be supplied with the kit under the previous standard


Why It Matters
The EU Toy Safety Directive's new chemical requirements include restrictions on toxic elements, certain fragrances and use of carcinogenic, mutagenic, and reprotoxic (CMR) chemicals. In particular, it increases the chemical testing requirements from eight elements to 19 and, depending on the toy material category, different limits are applied.

In addition, the EU Toy Safety Directive 2009/48/EC requires manufacturers to provide a Technical File containing documentation demonstrating the toy complies with design, manufacture, chemical, and operational requirements. The Technical File must be kept up to date and reflect any changes to the toy, legislation, or standards. It is essential that the history of the product is retained.

How UL Can Help
UL consumer products group's accredited laboratories can assist with third-party testing and certification requirements under the EU Toy Safety Directive 2009/48/EC. Across our global network of laboratories, UL can perform all the chemical testing required by EN 71-4.

To learn how UL's quality assurance programs for children's products and chemical management services can help ensure regulatory compliance for every country in which you source or sell, click Contact UL at the top of the page and a UL representative will follow up with you soon.