Today, the European Union published their amendment to the Toy Safety Directive to include formamide, the chemical found in EVA Foam Puzzle Mats. The EU Toy Safety Directive stipulates the safety criteria that toys must meet before they can be marketed in the EU.
Formamide is classified under Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 as toxic to reproduction – category 1B (harmful to the unborn child). It is one of the substances in a List of Substance of Very High Concern under REACH.
New Amendment to EU Toy Safety Directive
The amendment states that the emission into the air of formamide from puzzle mats be limited, so that it does not exceed 20 μg/m3 measured 28 days after unpacking. The foam mat product itself has a limit of a formamide level of 200 mg/kg.
Safe Baby Healthy Child is finding out if there will be labeling to let parents know they must let the puzzle mat outgas outside or away from any child.
Parents need to be aware that puzzle mats that are on the market are still being found to have elevated levels of formamide (above 200 mg/kg).
An organization called ANSES, the French agency for food, environmental and occupational health & safety began conducting a study in 2010. Their research and some of their recommendations were used by the TSD (Toy Safety Directive) to arrive at the new regulation. However, one of their recommendations took a much different stance than what TSD arrived at: “To avoid health risks, especially to children, toys should not contain hazardous substances or preparations, especially carcinogenic, mutagenic or reprotoxic substances such as formamide, which is classed as a reprotoxic substance.
Dr. Hermann Kurse, toxicologist at the University of Kiel in Germany says this:
“Formamide shouldn’t be used in baby products. Formamide is more harmful than Phthalate.”
In Taiwan, the national regulation for toys and playmats are <2mg/kg which is the same as the limit France had imposed before they increased the allowable limit to 200 mg/kg in August of 2012. And, New York has a pending bill, A00106. It would prohibit the manufacture, distribution and sale of children’s foam mats containing formamide.
The chart below shows the amendment published 12/1/15 in the Official Journal of the European Union. The directive goes into effect Dec 21st (20 days after publication). Laws and regulations must be in place by May 24, 2017.
The full text of the amendment regarding formamide is available here.