TDmonthly Magazine!
June 2012 | Vol. XI - No. 6


New Mexico Standard Restricts Heavy Metals in Products for Children


To enhance environmental health by limiting the bioavailability of heavy metals in toys and school supplies, the Mexican Ministry of Health has published a new official standard. Also included in the new standard are chemical specifications of such substances and details of the testing methods to be used. Migration limits for antimony, arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, mercury, lead and selenium are covered.

Mexico's Ministry of Health published in the Official Journal of the Federation on May 15, 2012 the standard NOM-252-SSA1-2011 (Only available in Spanish) to regulate eight heavy metals for use in toys and school supplies and so limit their bioavailability. The new standard defines limits and specifies the methods of testing to determine the maximum levels of lead permitted in toys for children of under 12 years of age and for supplies for school and preschool children. Further, the standard defines limits and methods of testing for seven other heavy metals in addition to lead, namely antimony, arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, mercury and selenium, for toys intended for children under three and school supplies for preschool, because of the additional dangers posed by very young children sucking, licking and swallowing these types of product.

The maximum migration limits of the standard are expressed in milligrams per kilogram of substance. The limit for lead is 90 mg in all cases, whereas limits for the other heavy metals differ by application, with significant lower limits set for barium, cadmium, chromium and mercury in modeling clay and finger paints than other types of toy and preschool supply.

The testing methods specified are classified according to the procedures needed for taking samples and preparation. The groups of materials include paint coatings and lacquers, printing inks, polymers and laminates, paper and cardboard, textiles, glass, ceramics and metals, other materials such as wood, fiberboard, bone and leather. There are also special tests defined for modeling materials, including pastes, molds and gels, and for painting materials, including finger paints, varnishes and lacquers in solid, liquid or powder form.

The new Mexican standard takes effect 90 days after publication and so becomes law on August 13, 2012.

About SGS Services for Children's Products
Throughout its global network of laboratories, SGS provides a range of services that include the analytical testing and consultancy services for toys and children's products for international markets including the Mexican. To ensure the safety and quality of juvenile products, manufacturers and retailers can rely on the assistance of SGS. With a comprehensive range of services, SGS can provide help with consulting and training, the development of existing and new products, factory audits, inspections, testing and certification, as well as pre-shipment testing and technical reviews.

Please contact the SGS experts if you require further information.

Contact details:

SGS Consumer Testing Services
Hing Wo Tsang
Chemical Laboratory
SGS Hong Kong Limited
5-8/F, 28/F, Metropole Square, 2 On Yiu Street, Siu Lek Yuen
Shatin, NT, Hong Kong, China

t: +852 2774 7420

SGS is the world's leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With 70'000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1'350 offices and laboratories around the world.


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