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The German Committee on Product Safety has published new specifications for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) under the voluntary GS-Mark. The new requirements will become effective on July 1, 2020.

SAFEGUARDS | Consumer Products NO. 136/19

Hand holding a SGS TUV Saar stub

In May 2019, the German Product Safety Committee (Ausschuss für Produktsicherheit, AfPS) published a new set of specifications for PAHs under the voluntary Geprüfte Sicherheit Mark (GS-Mark, ‘Tested Safety’ Mark). The new document on testing, evaluation and specifications on PAHs, AfPS GS 2019: 01 PAK of May 15, 2019, is available on the website of the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin, BAuA).

The new specifications replace the AfPS GS 2014:01 PAK document (Safeguard 187/14) and will become mandatory for issuing the GS-Mark from July 1, 2020.

The new specifications contain, inter alia, several important changes and clarifications:

  • Reducing the number of PAHs from 18 to 15 by removing acenaphthylene, acenaphthene and fluorene from the group of seven PAHs
  • Expanding the scope of Category 1 ‘Materials intended to be placed in the mouth, or materials in toys with intended long-term skin contact (> 30 seconds)’ by including ‘articles for children up to three years of age’
  • Expanding the scope of Categories 2a and 3a from ‘Toys in the scope of Directive 2009/48/EC’ to ‘products used by children under the age of 14’
  • Components that are only accessible for a short period of time during basic maintenance or work extensions are not considered 
  • Only PAHs in materials that have been quantified from 0.2 mg/kg are considered for the sum of 15 PAHs
  • GS Mark certificates issued before July 1, 2020 will continue to be valid after this date (AfPS GS 2014:01 PAK will become invalid after June 30, 2020)

Highlights of the PAH requirements in AfPS GS 2019:01 PAK of May 15, 2019, are summarized in Table 1.

German Product Safety Commission (AfPS)
Testing and Assessment of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the Award of the GS Mark – Specification Pursuant to §21(1) No. 3 of the Product Safety Act (ProdSG)
AfPS GS 2019:01 PAK, May 15, 2019
Category 1 Category 2 Category 3
Materials intended to be placed in the mouth, or materials in toys (Directive 2009/48/EC) or articles for children up to 3 years of age with intended long-term skin contact (> 30 seconds) (mg/kg) Materials that are not in Category 1, with intended or foreseeable long-term skin contact (> 30 seconds) or short-term repetitive contact with the skin Materials not covered by Category 1 or 2, with intended or foreseeable short-term skin contact (≤ 30 seconds)
2a
Use by children under 14 (mg/kg)
2b
Other consumer products (mg/kg)
3a
Use by children under 14 (mg/kg)
3b
Other consumer products (mg/kg)
Benzo[a]pyrene < 0.2 < 0.2 < 0.5 < 0.5 < 1
Benzo[e]pyrene < 0.2 < 0.2 < 0.5 < 0.5 < 1
Benzo[a]anthracene < 0.2 < 0.2 < 0.5 < 0.5 < 1
Benzo[b]fluoranthene < 0.2 < 0.2 < 0.5 < 0.5 < 1
Benzo[j]fluoranthene < 0.2 < 0.2 < 0.5 < 0.5 < 1
Benzo[k]fluoranthene < 0.2 < 0.2 < 0.5 < 0.5 < 1
Chrysene < 0.2 < 0.2 < 0.5 < 0.5 < 1
Dibenzo[a,h]anthracene < 0.2 < 0.2 < 0.5 < 0.5 < 1
Benzo[g,h,i]perylene < 0.2 < 0.2 < 0.5 < 0.5 < 1
Indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene < 0.2 < 0.2 < 0.5 < 0.5 < 1
Anthracene, fluoranthene, phenanthrene, pyrene < 1 (sum) < 5 (sum) < 10 (sum) < 20 (sum) < 50 (sum)
Naphthalene < 1 < 2 < 2 < 10 < 10
Total 15 PAHs < 1 < 5 < 10 < 20 < 50
Effective date = July 1, 2020 (for issuing GS-Mark)

Table 1

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