France, Belgium Revise Chemical Restrictions in Foam Toys

While the European Union’s Toy Safety Directive (TSD) requirements regarding chemical contents in toys will come into effect next year, France and Belgium have recently elected to revise their individual, temporary restrictions on total content of formamide in foam toy “puzzle mats,” to be enforced until the TSD law  (Directive 2009/48/EC) comes into effect next July 20.

  • France has relaxed its rule, first published last July, restricting the total content of formamide in foam puzzle mats. As previously reported in Toy News Tuesday, France’s Official Journal of the French Republic (OJFR) previously restricted formamide in toys to 2mg/kg (ppm). The revised rule, published on August 5, restricts total content of formamide in toys to 200mg/kg (ppm) and no longer includes emission level restrictions.
  • Belgium has elected to enforce the Toy Safety Directive limit now instead of waiting until next year. The TSD bans the sale of puzzle mats containing more than 5000mg/kg (ppm) (0.5 percent) of formamide.

Typically, formamide may be present in foam mats as a plasticizer for ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), as a decomposition product of blowing agents used in the manufacture of foam products, or as a residual solvent from EVA resin manufacture. According to the French Agency for Food Safety, Environment, and Labor (ANSES), in the case of puzzle mats, children can inhale the chemical emitted by the mats into the air.

Directive 2009/48/EC, which strengthens the EU’s safety criteria for all toys produced domestically and imported from abroad, was officially implemented across each EU state on January 20, 2011. TSD requirements regarding chemical contents in toys will come into force next July 20. Prior to that date, regulations contained in the old Directive 88/378/EEC will continue to apply. The complete Directive 2009/48/EC is available on the Toy Industry Association’s website. Additional information can be found on the Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry of the European Commission website.

This post was originally written by Sierra McCleary-Harris and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.