On 4 September 2017, the European Commission (EC) launched a public consultation1 on draft Directive to adopt the new Chromium VI limit in scraped-off toy materials, with a feedback period opens until 2 October 2017. EC proposed the limit value shall be revised downwards from 0.2 mg/kg to 0.053 mg/kg.
Chromium VI is particularly toxic and is highly exposed to children through different sources other than toys. In 2015, the Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER) reported in its final opinion2,3 that a lower tolerable daily intake (TDI) should be applied based on “virtual safe dose” determination, and the limit value should be updated to 0.0094 mg/kg. However, the SCHER acknowledges that the proposed migration limits are conservative and may not be achievable. It is almost six times lower than the detection level in the current test method in standard EN 71-3.
Considering the current available technology, the subgroup “Chemicals” of the Expert Group on Toys Safety recommended to lower the limit value for chromium VI to 0.053 mg/kg (i.e. current detection level in EN 71-3). The test method should be also reviewed every 2 years to identify a test method until reaching the limit value suggested by SCHER. European Committee for Standardization (CEN) is currently reviewing the EN 71-3 to improve the detection methods for chromium VI migration. The lowest concentration can be measured is expected down to 0.0025 mg/kg.
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.