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The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has published a revision to US toy safety standard ASTM F963 - now designated as ASTM F963-16 - that contains several significant changes. It becomes a mandatory requirement starting April 30, 2017.

SGS believes that some of the changes will help to align the US requirements with Europe’s (EN 71) and international (ISO 8124) toy standards. The hope is that the revised standard will better clarify certain requirements.

In our view, ASTM F963-16 will not affect most toy manufacturers. If your product uses rechargeable batteries, Lithium Ion batteries, or small button cell batteries with a voltage of 1.5v or more, you should pay particular attention to the new regulations. In addition, manufacturers of projectile-launching products will also be affected by the revised standard.

The revisions to the 2011 version of the US toy standard are listed below:

Batteries:

  1. Coin/button cell battery requirements
  2. Additional labeling (in Section 5)
  3. Lithium batteries – added temperature/current requirements
  4. Definitions for secondary cell and rechargeable batteries added

Projectiles:

  1. Changed to align with ISO 8124 and EN71
  2. Allowable projectile KED is now 2,500 J/m2
  3. Added 57mm length requirement for suction cup projectiles
  4. Additional requirements for mouth-activated projectile toys
  5. Foam dart and suction cup requirements
  6. Use of gauge for leading edge radius measurements of rigid projectiles
  7. Other miscellaneous editorial changes

Toy Chests:

Requirements for toy chests were included in the F963 toy standard, including the need for warning labels and specific instructional literature. The separate ASTM F834 Toy Chest standard was discontinued.

Magnets:

  1. Changed to align requirements with ISO 8124 and EN71
  2. Added:
    • Soaking test and compression test
    • Gauss meter accuracy specs
    • Metal discs specified
    • Other miscellaneous changes

Heavy Elements:

  • Clarified requirements for heavy metals in textiles and stickers
  • Clarified that metal extraction test is only required if total Cadmium content is 75 ppm or greater 
  • Addition of HD-XRF for total screen for homogenous polymers

Microbiological safety:

  1. Requirements clarified and defined
  2. Alternative methods such as CTFA allowed
  3. Stuffing cleanliness: test method simplified

Acoustics:

  1. Revised to align more closely with EN71 and ISO 8124
  2. Added definition for push/pull toys

Cords and elastics:

  1. Editorial changes to clarify requirements

Stuffing material requirements:

  1. State requirements have been removed and changed the test method
  2. Evaluation revised to include the use of a stereo wide field microscope

Miscellaneous changes:

  1. Strap exemption for ride-on toys
  2. Curb impact for ride-on toys
  3. Further clarify overload and stability requirements for ride-on toys
  4. Clarify non-powered scooters are excluded from scope and are covered by ASTM F2264
  5. Requirements for expanding materials

Labeling:

  1. Added labeling requirements for button or coin cell batteries
  2. Magnets labeling has been revised
  3. Slight revisions to battery operated toy instructional labeling
  4. Additions to Toy Chest instructional labeling and producer’s markings

Next steps:

ASTM publishes a “redline” version of each revised standard, showing the changes as red text.

If you would like help in ensuring you comply with the revised regulations, SGS can help. With the largest global network of toy experts and testing facilities around the world (including three EU Notified Bodies and around forty CPSC-Accepted Testing Laboratories), we’re certainly the partner to trust.

We offer consultation and comprehensive testing services (physical/mechanical, chemical, flammability, electrical safety) covering international product safety and regulatory standards for a wide range of toys. Our laboratories are internationally recognized by major industry associations, accreditation bodies and authorities.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information, or go to SGS Toys.

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Piyush Shah
Technical Director - Hardlines
SGS North America Inc.
t: +1 (973) 461-7953