During August and September 2014, The European Commission (EC) and the Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER) conducted a public consultation on the Committee’s preliminary opinion on Chromium VI (CAS No. 18540-29-9) in toys. The final opinion was recently published in January 2015.
SCHER was asked to consider, in view of new available evidence, whether a revision of the migration limits for chromium VI in toys or toy components was necessary with regards to the potential carcinogenic effects of chromium VI. In reply, SCHER recommends the revision of current migration limits for chromium VI on toys. A summary of the proposed migration limits are given in Table 1.
Table 1: The migration limits for Chromium VI in toys proposed by SCHER
Category I Dry, brittle, powder-like or pliable toy material
Category 2 Liquid or sticky toy material
Category 3 Scraped-off toy material
Directive 2009/48/EC (current)
Final opinion from SCHER (proposed)
The Final Opinion acknowledges that current best available technology may not be sufficient to achieve the new migration limits.
The new available evidence indicated that observed carcinogenic effects of Chromium VI in experimental animals also have relevance for humans. A virtual safe dose was derived and new values for migration limits for Chromium VI from toys were recommended. Given their relatively high background exposure, the SCHER is of the opinion that exposure to Chromium VI from toys should be minimised to the lowest levels achievable.
Chromium is a naturally-occurring element found in rocks, animals, plants, and soil. It exists in multiple oxidation states, of which the hexavalent (chromium VI) and trivalent (chromium III) states are most prevalent biologically.
Major uses of chromium VI compounds include metal plating, manufacture of pigments and dyes, corrosion inhibitors, chemical synthesis, refractory production, leather tanning, and wood preservation. Chromium VI can be found in many consumer products such as wood treated with copper dichromate or leather tanned with chromic sulphate.