Can Chromatography Make Toys Safer?
Mar 01 2017 Read 2588 Times
The safety of children’s toys is paramount — after all, the first thing babies and toddlers do is to suck and lick them. So, anything that can cause harm to children through ingestion shouldn’t be there. Consequently, regulators and governments put laws in place to make toys as free from nasties as possible.
There are many different chemicals that manufacturers use to make toys — but to be legally sold in Europe, toys must comply with European legislation and carry a CE mark. Let’s look at the legislation and see how chromatography is helping to make toys in Europe safer.
The letters CE appear on many different products that we buy. The letters can be used on products — including toys — that meet high safety, health and environmental standards. It is up to the manufacturers to ensure that products meet the standards before applying the letters — which consumers can use to ensure that the goods they are purchasing meet the required safety standards. However, the mark doesn’t mean that the goods have been approved as safe by the EU, or that the goods have been made in Europe.
Toy safety in the EU
The safety of toys in Europe comes under the EU Directive 2009/48/EC. This covers everything from the noise a toy makes to the choking hazards presented by toys in food. Most pertinent to this discussion — the directive also covers the subject of chemicals in toys. Since over 80% of toys marketed in Europe originate in China, any directive also applies to toys made overseas and sold in Europe.
Manufacturers should ensure that any toys do not contain any chemicals that could jeopardise the safety or health of users. The rules apply not just top how the manufacturer intended the toy to be used, but also to nay foreseeable way that the toy could be used — and with toddlers and babies this applies to them putting everything in their mouths. Manufacturers therefore must carry out and analysis of the chemical safety of their toys before they appear on the market. The relevant regulation states:
Toys shall be designed and manufactured in such a way that there are no risks of adverse effects on human health due to exposure to the chemical substances or mixtures of which the toys are composed or which they contain when the toys are used as specified in the first subparagraph of Article 10(2).
Chromatography — making play things safer
Analysis of toys has found many hazardous chemicals including heavy metals — like cadmium and lead — and plasticizers belonging to the phthalate group of compounds. In fact, some phthalates have been banned for use in plastic toys for over 10 years — but still hazardous chemicals are found in toys.
Chromatography is helping to lead the fight against hazardous phthalates in toys as discussed in this article, Optimising Analysis of Phthalates in Plastic Toys Using the Agilent 1290 Infinity Method Development Solution.
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