The safety of children’s toys has been regulated in the United States and the European Union (EU) for decades. Current regulations and standards in the U.S. already address the physical hazards traditionally associated with the use of toys, including sharp edges, small parts, strangulation, shock, and entrapment. However, except for limits on lead and phthalates mandated under the CPSIA, there has been scant attention given to chemicals and other substances for which stated limits do not yet exist. UL has introduced a new voluntary leadership standard that addresses the use of chemicals in children’s toys. Harmonized with the requirements of the European Union’s Directive on the Safety of Toys (2009/48/EC), UL 172, the Standard for Sustainability of Toys, will support manufacturers’ efforts to design and develop toys that reduce children’s exposure to certain chemicals. The new standard will also offer guidance on the socially and environmentally responsible production of toys.
This UL white paper begins with a brief overview of the U.S. toy industry and the unique issues associated with children’s exposure to chemicals in toys. The paper then reviews the current regulatory requirements applicable to chemicals in children’s toys, and discusses the key aspects of UL 172. The white paper concludes with a summary of compliance issues for manufacturers.