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

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 in the hands of a well-trained operator for detecting the potential presence of substances in toys, as long as prescribed test methods are followed and the appropriate standard reference materials are used. A positive XRF result merely indicates that further comprehensive testing must be done by a lab accredited by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to confirm presence of the substance.

It is extremely important that persons using an XRF device are trained in how to operate the instrument properly, know how to interpret the results in accordance with all safety standards and rules, and understand the limits of the technology and interpreting those results. Some materials require the use of more sophisticated “High-Definition” (HDXRF) technology, methods, and equipment rather than standard (energy-dispersive or "ED") XRF, although neither of these methods is suitable to determine compliance with all requirements for all materials.

Improper use of such instruments by untrained or under-trained operators is dangerous to individuals in the vicinity of the testing and often results 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 and/or have misinterpreted the results.

TIA and its members support rigorous standards for toy safety and the use of all reliable mechanisms to demonstrate compliance 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 2015.