Toy Industry Association (TIA) Statement Regarding the Report

The toy industry shares parents’ concern about children’s potential exposure to toxic chemicals in our environment.  Parents should know that toys sold in the U.S. are prohibited from containing accessible substances that are harmful or toxic and to which children might be exposed.  Laws such as the Consumer Product Safety Act, the Federal Hazardous Substances Act, and the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008 state that toys cannot contain any accessible substances that are toxic or harmful to children. Toys must be tested by independent laboratories accredited by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and determined to be in compliance with all relevant standards and regulations – including all applicable heavy metal limits – before they can be sold in the United States. Established test methods under CPSIA Section 101, U.S. standard ASTM F-963 and the European Union’s standard EN 71 Part 3 assure that toys are safe and that children are not exposed to hazardous levels of heavy metals.

As the CPSC Commission has confirmed, there has been consistent improvement in toy safety measures during the past two years and toys sold in America have never been safer.  The claims made by certain self-proclaimed advocates such as Good Guide are unclear, loosely defined and often invalid. As an example, toys must be appropriately subjected to migration testing for surface coatings which included lead and other heavy metals. Good Guide used less reliable XRF testing which is unable to distinguish between readings of accessible versus non-accessible components of a product. [See supplemental statement shown below]

The media has a responsibility to ensure that the information they provide to the public about the safety of a particular toy product is neither, false, deceptive or misleading. Misleading statements should not be relied upon. 

STATEMENT: The Toy Industry Notes Problems in Reliability of XRF Testing For Compliance With Toy Safety Regulations

On August 15, 2009, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued the report of its Study on the Effectiveness, Precision, and Reliability of X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) Spectrometry and Other Alternative Methods for Measuring Lead in Paint.

Though the August CPSC report found that XRF technology may be used as a screening tool, the Commission indicated that XRF has not been determined to be a reliable test method overall. CPSC staff noted that appropriate and standard analytical methods must be developed before a complete evaluation or determination of the technology is possible. Until that time migration and wet chemistry testing is used for regulatory purposes.

XRF technology can travel through a thin paint film and other protective surface coatings.  Thus, the test results are not accurate for determining the presence of heavy metals to which a child may be exposed or have access and may not be an indication of a product’s safety.  False results are not unusual using XRF technology, so decisions should not be based simply on these methods.

CPSC staff is now working with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop the needed standard reference materials (SRMs) and with ASTM International to develop standard test methods. As the materials and test methods become available, CPSC staff will resume its study.

The Toy Industry Association (TIA) recognizes that XRF technology may be suitable in certain cases for the accurate determination of lead in toys, provided the appropriate test methods are followed and the appropriate standard reference materials are used.  Until the necessary SRMs and test methods are developed, however, XRF analysis should be used only as a method for evaluating whether further product testing may be necessary under current industry testing protocols, which require destruction of the toy and complex chemical analyses.