With the ever-evolving and growing array of new products developed in the global marketplace, from childrens products to home goods, to cosmetics & personal care products, to consumer electronics, wearable technologies, food and beverages products,….the list goes on and on. The need for any given product to concurrently be compliant to multi-market regulations, remains a major challenge for most manufacturers and brands alike. Toys and children’s products are some of the most rigorously regulated product categories. The ever-changing strict national, regional and international compliance regulations challenges the integrity of products customers rely upon. There is an increasing demand of regulated chemicals and how they apply to your products as well.
There are essentially 3 fundamental testing requirements of toy and children’s products:
- Physical and Mechanical Hazards
- Flammability Hazards
- Restricted Hazardous Chemicals according to national, state and regional requirements.
Other testing requirements may also apply depending on the products use and function. As example:
- Is any component in direct contact with food stuffs? Food Contact Materials regulations would apply.
- Is component applied directly to the skin as a cosmetic? Cosmetic regulations would apply.
- Are there liquids, pastes, putties, powders or gel components? Toxicological and microbiological testing may be required.
- Is the product Electrical or Battery-operated? EMC / RED / FCC standards may apply.
- Do you have performance or content claims on your packaging, labeling or marketing materials? Performance and Quality testing may be recommended or required based on any packaging or labeling claims.
- Does it have stuffing materials? Check Stuffing Material Cleanliness.
Talk with your lab representative about recommended testing scope for your product.
Here are a few Best Practices to help navigate ensuring compliance and quality of your product to maximize the value of your testing dollars in a time-efficient manner.
- Test for multiple markets of distribution simultaneously to maximize timing and economies of costs. Most markets have their own requirements, many of which are not harmonized with other markets but good planning will provide for test data sharing of any common factors, wherever possible. For example, here are some of the regulations of some of the leading global markets:
- US: ASTM F963, CPSIA, 16 CFR, FDA, CA Prop 65, FCC
- Europe: EN 71, BS, DIN, REACH, NF, LFGB, BS, BS EN, EMC, RED
- Canada: CCPSA SOR/2011-17, CPLA, TSSA
- Australia: AS/NZS ISO 8124
- China: GB 6675, GB/T
- Japan: ST2012/Japan Food Sanitation Law
- International: ISO 8124
- Although many of the markets do not share identical test methodologies, there are several test standards that are harmonized and can share or cross-reference results, such as phthalates and certain heavy metals requirements saving valuable testing dollars. Submit products within a collection at the same time to cross-reference results of identical shared materials and components.
- Know your product! The more knowledgeable you are about the materials of your product, the more you may be able to test base or raw materials or components. Also, if you are working with a new supplier, launching a new product or entering a new market, pre-testing raw materials may avoid costly reformulations, redesigns and retesting. Conducting Chemical Risk Assessments of materials with your lab may be a good option to target only “at risk” combinations of substance-to-materials and eliminate certain chemical tests. There are sophisticated programs available to can evaluate your products very cost-effectively!
- Look at your product critically during concept design! Under foreseeable usage conditions, could there potentially be sharp edges? Sharp points? Strangulation or suffocation hazards? Magnets or coin cell batteries that could be swallowed. Benchmarking best-in-class products and critically looking at your product may avoid redesigns at production and testing phases.
- Look at product recalls for similar products. Knowing what hazards other products have been recalled for will help avoid similar issues.
- Design your product to meet the most restrictive market of distribution regulations. Reduce excessive number of shades of basically same colors to reduce testing needs.
- Know your Supply Chain! Does your supplier have knowledge of what requirements they need to meet? Do they have a good history of passing results or recurring retests and failures? Knowing their history can help you when planning:
- your timeline – redesign, reformulation of products and retests of improved samples will need more time,
- your testing budget – retesting of improved samples
- whether you composite (mix) materials or not – there are pros and cons. Discuss with your lab what the right fit is for you.
- Communication is Key! Partner with an ISO 17025 accredited, CPSC-approved lab that can provide support and consultation on requirements and failure analysis and guidance.
- Communicate your timeline and needs well with your test lab! This will help build in reasonable expectations with your business partners.
Eurofins Consumer Product Testing US, located in Northwestern USA, is part of Eurofins Scientific Group. With over 400+ testing lab locations globally Eurofins is one of the leading companies in the testing, inspection and certification industry. Our wide scope of testing expertise among all our labs include Children Products & Toys, Apparel & textiles, Fashion accessories & jewelry, Cosmetics/Personal Care, Homegoods, Hygiene & Cleaning Products, Electronics, Foods, Food Contact Materials, Medical Devices, and more….
Eurofins Consumer Product Testing US has extensive analytical testing capabilities onsite in Bothell, WA. Furthermore our clients are offered seamless access to Eurofins’ global capabilities.
We are ISO 17025 accredited and CPSC-approved. We are also a participating lab in Amazon’s Solutions Provider. For information about our chemical risk assessment services, testing, inspections, certification services or a free quote, please contact us at https://www.eurofinsus.com/consumer-product-testing. Contact us at Maria Johnson MariaJohnson@EurofinsUS.com; Marty Imler MartyImler@EurofinsUS.com; Taryn de Jong TaryndeJong@EurofinsUS.com
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