Updated Toy Safety Standard Takes Effect June 12. New Tests Required!
If you import children's toys, or if you're a promotional products supplier with children's toys in your line, effective tomorrow you'll need to comply with an update to the mandatory Federal Toy Safety Standard. Among other changes, this revision (ASTM F963-11) adds limits for the soluble amount of eight metals (antimony, arsenic, lead, barium, cadmium, chromium, mercury, and selenium) permitted in toy substrates. The change is effective for toys manufactured or imported after June 12, 2012 for children 14 years of age or younger.
The ASTM F963 Toy Safety Standard used to be voluntary. But in 2008, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) made ASTM F963 a mandatory standard. At that time, the current version of the Toy Safety Standard was F963‑07 with the "07" signifying the year that the latest revision was adopted. Since then, CPSC has voted to adopt two newer revisions—one issued in 2008 and the latest in December 2011. In February 2012, the Commission announced in the Federal Register its decision to adopt ASTM F963-11 effective as of June 12, 2012.
For the moment, the law requires you to comply with every provision of the new standard—including the 2011 changes—but doesn't require you to use a CPSC certified third-party lab to test for the 2011 changes. The reason is that the Commission has not yet voted to adopt recently proposed rules for third party laboratories which it published in the Federal Register on May 24, 2012. Comments on these proposed rules are not due until August 7, 2012.
If you have another reliable way to verify compliance for the F963-11 changes—perhaps by testing with an XRF instrument—you could avoid, until CPSC adopts the new rules, the cost of testing the 2011 updates at a third-party lab. However, this waiver only applies to the F963-11 changes. You'll still need a test from a CPSC certified third-party laboratory for the portions of ASTM F963-11 that are "functionally equivalent" to F963-08.