The Toy Association Statement on the Use of XRF Technology

The Toy 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 certain 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 government-accredited lab to confirm the presence of the substance.

It is extremely important that individuals 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 in 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 may be dangerous to individuals in the vicinity of the testing, and often results in readings that are inaccurate and misleading. The Toy Association has seen numerous examples of products being tested by untrained personnel and erroneously reported as containing high levels of certain substances because the XRF testing had been conducted incorrectly and/or the results were misinterpreted.

The Toy Association and its members support rigorous standards for toy safety and the use of all reliable mechanisms to demonstrate compliance with federal regulations. If and 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 reaffirmed by The Toy Association in September 2023.