The safety of toys is constantly under scrutiny of Authorities. Certain substances might be carcinogenic, mutagenic, or toxic for reproduction. Therefore, it is crucial to keep analyzing the safety of such substances and introduce bans or limitations when necessary. One of the latest news in the toy industry concerns the safety of cobalt in toys.
Recently, SCHEER provided a Preliminary Opinion on the Safety of cobalt in toys. All interested parties are invited to submit their comments on the scientific evidence online SCHEER – Public consultation on the Preliminary Opinion on the safety of the presence of cobalt in toys until 8 September 2022.
Safety of cobalt: what sources and studies say
Cobalt has been classified as carcinogenic category 1B, mutagenic category 2, and toxic for reproduction category 1B. Following a request of the European Commission, the Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks (SCHEER) provided a Preliminary Opinion on the safety of cobalt in toys on July 15, 2022.
To issue this Opinion, the SCHEER evaluated various sources. Among these, there are information on the use of cobalt in toys provided by the Toys Industries of Europe (TIE) and based on the literature search.
What is the opinion of the Scientific Committee?
The Preliminary Opinion includes several points:
· The Opinion assessed that a potential risk can be associated for inhalation exposure to cobalt for powder-like toy materials, containing cobalt-base pigments or colorants. For such toys, in fact, cobalt-free pigments should be used. On the other hand, the risk due to cobalt inhalation associated with the use of cobalt-containing metals can be considered negligible (European Commission, 2022).
· Moreover, the SCHEER calculated new migration limits for cobalt in toys related to oral exposure. Nevertheless, due to several uncertainties in relation to the carcinogenic properties of cobalt after oral exposure, the SCHEER recommended reducing migration limits to the lowest technically achievable levels (European Commission, 2022).
· Concerning the dermal exposure, the ECHA restrictions on cobalt in textiles and leather are assumed to protect children from sensitization from all toy materials in contact with the skin (European Commission, 2022).
Do you want to place your toys on the EU market and wish to know about the requirements under the Toy Safety Directive? Obelis can help you achieve compliance!
Regulatory Affairs Department
*Update: 18/08/2022 related to the prolongation of the consultation period, from August 18 to September 8, 2022.
European Commission. (2022). SCHEER – Public consultation on the Preliminary Opinion on the safety of the presence of cobalt in toys – deadline extended to 8 September. Retrieved on 18/08/2022 from https://health.ec.europa.eu/latest-updates/scheer-public-consultation-preliminary-opinion-safety-presence-cobalt-toys-deadline-extended-8-2022-08-16_en
European Commission. (2022). Commission launches public consultation on the Preliminary Opinion on the safety of the presence of cobalt in toys. Retrieved on 20/09/2022 from https://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/sante/newsletter-archives/40002
European Commission. (2009). Directive 2009/48/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 June 2009 on the safety of toys. Retrieved on 20/07/2022 from https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A02009L0048-20210521
European Commission. (2021). Toy Safety in the EU. Retrieved on 20/09/2022from https://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/toys/toy-safety_en