Advocating for Members: Toy Association’s Kaufman and Lawrence Attend ISO Safety Meetings to Promote Alignment of Global Toy Standards

October 9, 2018 | Toy Association staff attended meetings of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee on Toy Safety (ISO TC 181) in Billund, Denmark in September, to discuss updates to ISO 8124 (the toy standard originally developed to serve as a model for countries that did not have their own standards and to encourage a unified approach). The meetings were hosted by The LEGO Group, which is headquartered in Billund.

The annual meetings of the ISO Technical Committee bring together representatives of government, industry, testing labs, and consumer groups from ISO-member countries; in all 15 countries were represented at the 2018 meetings.  A United States delegation including members of the U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on Toy Safety, on behalf of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), attended and presented the U.S. viewpoint on topics discussed throughout the week. The ANSI/U.S. delegation included representatives from among Toy Association membership, as well as the Association’s Joan Lawrence, senior vice president of standards and regulatory affairs, and Alan Kaufman, senior vice president of technical affairs.

“The Toy Association annually participates in the ISO meetings to advocate for changes to the international toy standard that promote child safety – and are compatible with requirements in the U.S. and other jurisdictions,” said Lawrence. “We are pleased to report that progress is being made to align some ISO 8124 sections with ASTM F963 in the U.S.  These revisions will ultimately result in safer products for children around the world.”

A special Joint ASTM-ISO meeting was held during the week as a way to share information between the two technical committees on toy safety, and throughout the week participants discussed potential alignment of ISO 8124 with U.S. toy safety standard ASTM F963 in several areas, including recent changes soon to be made to ASTM F963 for expanding materials and acoustics.  Joan Lawrence chairs the ASTM subcommittee on Toy Safety and served as co-chair of the joint meeting along with Christian Wetterberg, LEGO’s senior director of product safety and compliance, who chairs the counterpart ISO Technical Committee 181.

The list of topics discussed during the week included mechanical and physical properties of toys, phthalate plasticizers, migration of certain elements, flying toys, among others.  A number of proposals also advanced, including those related to mechanical and physical testing, flying toys, phthalate ester test methods, microbiology, and analysis of heavy elements. One item of particular note – there will be an examination of whether a migration limit for boron should be added to ISO 8124-3, in addition to the eight elements already restricted. 

The Toy Association’s Kaufman presented an update on standards activity in the U.S. at the technical committee’s plenary meeting. Kaufman also led the work group meeting on microbiology as chair of that ISO initiative, having led a similar effort within the ASTM subcommittee on toys for several years which resulted in changes to ASTM F963.

Members will be kept apprised once updates to the ISO toy safety standard are finalized.