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  2. Reference materials in support of the safety of the toy   (13/05/2010)

This news article was originally written in Spanish. It has been automatically translated for your convenience. Reasonable efforts have been made to provide an accurate translation, however, no automated translation is perfect nor is it intended to replace a human translator. The original article in Spanish can be viewed at Materiales de referencia en apoyo a la seguridad del juguete
Aiju, Colortec chemistry and IISG working together on a project with polymeric materials that can be used as certified reference materials

Reference materials in support of the safety of the toy

May 13, 2010

There is widespread concern in society for the safety of consumer products, in particular, concern for chemical safety. Proof of this is the entry into force in June 2007 by the current REACH regulation that regulates the manufacture, marketing and use of chemical substances in the European market.
Sandra Segura and Luisa Marín, product development - Aijulaboratory Department

The child is that focus greater attention in this area, because it is one of the most vulnerable sectors of the population. For this reason that the legislation that directly affects the toy has always been very demanding (data from the first directive of 1988), and recently has been revised, considerably strengthening the requirements on chemical safety (new directive for safety of toys)(, 2009/48/EC, published last year 2009). In this respect it should be mentioned, the control on the bioavailability of some chemical elements that may contain the toy. This bioavailability is determined by the migration of these elements, considered to be toxic, since the matrix of the toy to the surface. In particular, the limits of migration with regard to the previous directive have been reinforced to increase the number of regulated toxic elements (table 1).

The need to improve the analytical techniques for the demonstration of compliance with the legal limits set has been generated
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Photo: Ivan Vicencio

Faced with this situation, there has been the need to improve the analytical techniques for the demonstration of compliance with the legal limits. One fundamental aspects in the validation of a technical analysis is the accuracy of the results obtained. These should be checked comparatively with a correct reference to confirm the accuracy of technical analytics employed. In this case, the use of certified reference materials is the most optimal solution for the determination of migration of toxic elements.

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Table 1. Limits of migration of elements referred to in the safety of toys directive 2009/48/EC. (* New elements included in the directive).

The certified reference materials are characterized by one or more of its properties preset in a homogeneous and stable manner. For the use of such materials, in the case of the determination of migration of toxic elements, the concentration of the toxic element which want to know the amount that has migrated as a result of technical applied Analytics is set as priority property. The use of these reference materials for comparative purposes at the same time of the testing of the product will eliminate the need for a more specific analysis, if the preliminary result does not indicate the presence of the toxic element object of the analysis. This optimization will help to increase the efficiency of the control of the product, and therefore also the safety and quality.

Security in the juguetero sector

One of the main problems of the use of certified reference materials, in the specific case of the study of migration, is the low offer that exists in the market and its high cost. This is one of the reasons why the Colortec chemistry company, in collaboration with the technological toy Institute (Aiju) and IISG, is developing a project for the preparation of polymeric materials that could be used as reference materials certified for trials of migration of toxic elements in toys and children articles of agreement with the new requirements of the new toys safety directive 2009/48/EC.

The company chemical Colortec, founded in the mid 1980s, and that it is carrying out this project, focuses on the chemical industry. Dedicated to the design and development of pigments and dyes to measure, the production and marketing of them, as well as the marketing of other additives for plastics. His work stands out in the sector of the toy industry and child articles.

Participate in the project, in collaboration with Colortec chemistry, on the one hand, Aiju as instituto tecnológico de toy, a private non-profit dedicated to the scientific and technical service required by the manufacturers of children's products and leisure; and on the other hand, the Italian company IISG, Italian company for the safety of toys, private entity formed by engineers, chemists and technicians active since 1978, dedicated to the safety of toys and children's product certification.

This project, framed within the European Eurostars (Eureka initiative and the European Commission), helps SMEs engaged in r & d activities to develop projects transnational oriented to the market, thus boosting the competitiveness of European companies through the promotion of technological projects. In Spain, the projects in this program are managed by the Ministry of science and innovation, through the CDTI, Centre for Industrial technological development, within the financing Interempresas international programme.

A project of r & d at European level

This project, forming part of the European programme Eurostars (Eureka initiative and the European Commission), helps SMEs engaged in r & d activities to develop transnational projects aimed at the market, thus boosting the competitiveness of European companies through the promotion of technological projects. In Spain, the projects in this program are managed by the Ministry of science and innovation, through the CDTI, Centre for Industrial technological development, within the financing Interempresas international programme.

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