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Updated List of Toy Safety Standards Published, with Introduction of New Standard

On 13 November 2015, the EU’s Official Journal published the latest list of harmonised European toy safety standards within the framework of the EU’s toy safety law, namely, Directive 2009/48/EC on the safety of toys.

The list is a complete list of toy safety standards and will therefore be relevant for Hong Kong’s toy traders as a means of reference, to ensure that they are up to date with all the aspects of toy safety covered by the standards, which in turn fulfil essential requirements of Directive 2009/48/EC.

There is one new reference on the list, namely EN 71-5:2015. For this new reference, it is stated that this is the first publication. Standard EN 71-5:2015 'Chemical toys (sets) other than experimental sets' is a standard superseding Standard EN 71-5:2013.

The new Standard reportedly lays down safety requirements and test methods for substances and mixtures used in chemical toys (sets) other than experimental sets. The substances and mixtures covered are:

  1. substances categorised as ‘dangerous’ by the EU legislation applying to dangerous substances and dangerous mixtures;
  2. substances and mixtures which in excessive amounts could harm the health of the child using them, but which are not classified as dangerous by the above mentioned legislation;
  3. any other chemical substances and mixtures accompanying the chemical toy.

Importantly, the Standard also reportedly sets out the requirements for warnings, safety rules, instructions for use and first aid information for toys. The main amendments in new Standard EN 71-5:2015 are:

  • As far as the Standard’s scope is concerned, 'plastic moulding sets' has been replaced by 'polystyrene granules sets';
  • The scope of the Standard no longer includes 'ceramic and vitreous enamelling materials supplied in miniature workshop sets' or references to their requirements and test methods;
  • ‘Phthalic acid esters with straight-chain aliphatic (C6 upwards except C8) alcohols and mixtures of these esters’ cannot be used as a plasticiser in ‘oven hardening plasticized PVC modelling clay sets’;
  • "Polyvinylpyrrolidone homo and copolymers" is a chemical substance which is allowed to be used as basic material in water-based adhesives and water-based paint or lacquer;
  • The following chemical substances will be allowed to be used as special material in adhesive sticks and pastes for paper: ‘acrylic homo and copolymers’, ‘hydrophilic polyurethane containing neither free isocyanategroups nor aromatic amino-compounds’, ‘polymers and copolymers of monomers permitted for materials intended to come into contact with foodstuffs’, ‘polyvinyl homo and copolymers’, ‘poly(vinyl alcohol)’, ‘dextrin’ and ‘starch or modified starch’.
  • Chemical substance 'Petroleum fraction (60 to 140) °C' has been replaced with 'Petroleum fraction (35 to 160) °C' and 'Petroleum fraction (135 to 210) °C' has been replaced with 'Hydrocarbons, C9-C16, hydrotreated, dearomatized' as organic solvents to be used in solvent-based paints, lacquers, thinners and cleaning solvents.

While the above may provide an idea of the provisions, for an exact understanding of the requirements it is highly recommended that Hong Kong’s toy exporters examine the text of the Standard itself.

Directive 2009/48/EC on the safety of toys establishes the essential safety requirements for toys. These include the toys’ physical and mechanical properties, their flammability, chemical aspects, electrical properties and hygiene.

In order for these requirements to be precisely met, the European Commission mandates the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) and the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation (CENELEC) to adopt technical norms in the form of harmonised standards.

The conformity of toys with harmonised standards, the reference numbers and titles of which are published in the EU’s Official Journal, will be of interest for Hong Kong manufacturers as they provide manufacturers with the presumption that the requirements of Directive 2009/48/EC have been met insofar as these are covered by the standards.

Standard EN 71-5:2015, along with the other European standards published in the Official Journal, are currently available for purchase from CEN or CENELEC’s national member organisations. For more information on how to purchase the standards, please click on the following links: CEN and CENELEC.

Please click on the following to examine the latest list of toy safety standards, as published in the EU’s Official Journal.

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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