On 4 May 2017, European Commission (EC) published Directive (EU) 2017/7741 to specify a migration limit as well as a content limit for phenol in specific toys by amending the Appendix C of Annex II to Toy Safety Directive 2009/48/EC. Effective from 4 November 2018, toys that are intended for use by children under 36 months or to be placed in the mouth are required to comply this new restriction.
Below specific limits of phenol are added in Appendix C to Annex II to Directive 2009/48/EC:
5 mg/l (migration limit) in polymeric materials in accordance with the methods laid down in EN 71-10:2005 and EN 71-11:2005.
10 mg/kg (content limit) as a preservative in accordance with the methods laid down in EN 71-10:2005 and EN 71-11:2005.
Phenol is commonly used as a monomer for phenolic resins in the manufacture of resin-bonded wood for toys and as a preservative in water-based liquid toys. It also can be present in polymers of toys.
Phenol is classified under Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 as mutagenic category 2. There is a generic limit 10,000 mg/kg (content limit) for mutagenic substances of category 2 under Toy Directive. However, the content limit value is too high in the light of available scientific evidence and the migration limit value does not exist in Toy Directive. The Commission therefore took the voluntary standard EN 71-9 as basis in the preparation of legislative proposals. Considering the opinions of Scientific Committee2 and European Food Safety Authority3, the adoption of a specific migration limit and a content limit for phenol in toys are finally published on the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU).