Safety of Toys | EVALUATION of the European Directive 2009/48/EC | COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT


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The Toy Safety Directive requires that no more than 17 mg/kg cadmium may migrate out of the paint on a toy, whereas REACH requires a paint to contain less than 0,1% (1000 mg/kg) cadmium. Since migration and content limits cannot be converted (by calculation) into each other, the paint on a toy has to be tested twice. This appears to be an unnecessary burden, since the Toy Safety Directive is already specifically designed to provide for a safe cadmium limit, and the REACH cadmium limit therefore cannot be ‘safer’. – To note that a migration limit can be as easily tested as a content limit, as long as a reliable test method is available, such as the test method for cadmium (and 18 further ‘elements’) in toy safety standard EN 71-3.

Similarly, toy jewellery such as bracelets, necklaces or rings is subject to the related lead migration limit value (23 mg/kg) in the Toy Safety Directive and to the content limit value (0,05% = 500 mg/kg) in REACH. As explained above, toy jewellery has to be tested twice although the lead limit provided in the Toy Safety Directive is considered to provide safety to children already.

Furthermore, the REACH restriction for CMRs in textiles overlaps with the Toy Safety Directive regarding the limits for the following metal elements and their compounds: arsenic, cadmium, chromium VI and lead. Whereas the REACH content limit is 1 mg/kg in all cases, the Directive’s migration limits for these four elements are 70,000 mg/kg, 17 mg/kg, 0.2 mg/kg respectively 0.053 mg/kg as of 18 November 2019, and 23 mg/kg, respectively. Since both sets of limits require an acidic extraction, a comparison is approximately possible, and the stricter limits apply. Nevertheless, since the tests are not identical, they would both have to be carried out if legal certainty were to be achieved.

Avoiding the above concerns could be achieved by exempting toys from restrictions in other pieces of legislation when chemicals are already regulated by the Toy Safety Directive. An example of this is the limit value for lead in articles supplied to the general public in REACH, which is 0.05%, but which does not apply to toys. For this limit the concerned Commission services considered already in the drafting phase that lead in toys was sufficiently addressed under the Toy Safety Directive and that the REACH limit should not apply to toys.

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