Toy Industry Associaton (TIA) Statement on the Use of XRF Technology

October 29, 2013

Based upon information provided by experienced engineers, safety authorities, and manufacturers of the instruments involved, the Toy Industry Association believes that X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) technology may be reliably used as an initial screening mechanism for detecting the presence of substances in toys, as long as prescribed test methods are followed and the appropriate standard reference materials are used.  Limitations of the method should also be understood.

It is extremely important that persons using an XRF device are trained in how to operate the instrument properly, that they know how to interpret the results in accordance with all safety standards and rules, and that they understand the limits of the technology.  Some materials require the use of High-Density  (XRF) technology, methods, and equipment rather than standard XRF, although neither of these methods is suitable to determine compliance with certain standards.

Improper use of such instruments by untrained or under-trained operators is dangerous to individuals in the vicinity of the testing and can easily result in readings that are inaccurate and misleading.  We have seen numerous examples of products being tested by untrained personnel and erroneously reported as containing high levels of certain substances because the XRF testing has been conducted incorrectly. 

TIA and its members support rigorous standards for toy safety and the use of all reliable mechanisms that will help companies comply with the regulations of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). If and only when they are properly employed, devices such as XRF detection instruments can strengthen testing and inspection procedures and help assure the manufacture of safe toys. 

This statement was originally published in September 2012 and reaffirmed by the Toy Industry Association in October 2013.