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ASTM International recently issued a significantly revised version of its voluntary toy safety standard F963 as part of on-going efforts to address emerging safety issues, new product features and potential new uses of toys. Among the changes included in F963-16 are the following:
- new requirements to the already extensive section on battery safety, including revisions to address concerns with button cell and lithium ion coin cell batteries and four new tests for toys that contain rechargeable cells and batteries;
- soaking and compression tests for magnets, including new soaking test requirements for wooden toys, toys intended to be used in water, and mouth pieces of mouth-actuated toys with a magnet or a magnetic component;
- changes to requirements for toys involving projectiles, including new requirements for resilient leading edges and kinetic energy density;
- new requirements for materials and toys that could expand if accidentally swallowed;
- new requirements and clarifications related to microbiological safety;
- clarifications to requirements related to heavy elements in the substrate materials of toys and the addition of an optional, alternate test method for total screen testing;
- a new curb impact requirement, clarifications to the overload and stability requirements and a strap exemption for rideon toys; and
- clarification of requirements and supplemental guidance for impact hazards.
The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act made ASTM F963 a mandatory consumer product safety standard effective 10 February 2009. Currently, toys sold in the United States must comply with ASTM F963-11, although the CPSC decided to continue to require compliance with section 4.27 (toy chests) of ASTM F963-07 after that standard was updated in 2011. The CPSIA also requires the CPSC to update its mandatory consumer product safety standard for toys with any modifications made by ASTM unless it determines that the proposed revisions do not improve toy safety.
Accordingly, once ASTM International formally notifies the Commission of the most recent changes the Commission will have 90 days to review and make a decision on the new version of F963. If the CPSC informs ASTM International of its determination that the proposed revisions do not improve safety, ASTM F963-11 will remain in force as a consumer product safety rule regardless of the proposed revisions. If the Commission does not respond to ASTM International within 90 days regarding the proposed revisions, 90 days later (180 days total after notification by ASTM International) the proposed revisions will become effective as a consumer product safety rule.