UL Environment Releases First North American Standard Addressing Toxicity, Environmental Impact of Children’s Toys
UL 172 to Help Leading Manufacturers Promote Healthier, Safer, More Environmentally-Preferable Toys
NORTHBROOK, Ill., Feb. 10, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Toy manufacturers wishing to demonstrate environmental leadership and a commitment to safeguarding children’s health can now pursue certification to North America’s first and only third-party environmental toy standard: UL 172.(1)
Launched today by UL Environment, a subsidiary of Underwriters Laboratories (UL), this groundbreaking, multi-attribute standard will serve as the basis of a third-party, voluntary certification that recognizes manufacturers that use safer chemicals and healthier, more environmentally-preferable materials in their toys.
“We’re proud to be a trusted partner of visionary toy manufacturers that strive to create safer, more healthful, more environmentally-friendly toys,” says Stephen Wenc, president of UL Environment. “Toxic toy recalls over the last several years have made consumers increasingly wary about the safety of the toys they purchase for their children. Certification to UL 172 will provide those consumers with peace of mind while giving innovative manufacturers the credit they deserve.”
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were at least 45 toxic toy recalls between 2008 and 2011–the equivalent of nearly two recalls per month for three consecutive years. All 45 recalls involved toys that were manufactured outside the U.S. UL 172 is applicable to children’s toys that are manufactured and sold worldwide.
UL 172 requires testing and verification to ensure that toys do not contain measurable carcinogens, certain neurotoxins, reproductive toxins, anti-microbial agents, heavy metals, or added fragrances. Its criteria meet or exceed U.S. and European Union requirements for toy toxicity. The standard also places strict limits on emissions of volatile organic compounds, a key contributor to childhood asthma; encourages socially responsible manufacturing practices; and helps minimize pollution generated by the production, use, and disposal of toys and their packaging.
“This standard is an important step in promoting greener, healthier toys for children,” says Catherine A. Wilt, director of the University of Tennessee’s Center for Clean Products and a key participant in development of UL 172. “Through restricting content such as heavy metals, known carcinogens, and other human health hazards, while encouraging practices like socially-responsible manufacturing with sustainably-sourced materials, this standard will enable parents, grandparents, and other toy buyers to make toy purchases they feel confident about.”
UL 172 is applicable to play products made from wood, plastic, rubber, textiles, metal, and bio-based materials–from balls and action figures to costume clothing and jewelry. Due to the high number and diversity of toy components on the market today, certain categories of toys–such as arts and crafts; cosmetics; video games; sporting equipment; furniture; and juvenile products, like strollers and car seats–are not covered by the standard at this time. Nevertheless, UL 172 is the first standard of its kind in North America.
“We are extremely excited about this standard and its potential to transform the toy marketplace,” Wenc says. “We look forward to working with manufacturers who are committed to making a positive difference in the lives of their customers.”
About UL Environment
UL Environment’s mission is to advance global sustainability, environmental health, and safety by supporting the growth and development of environmentally-preferable products, services, and organizations. We help companies achieve their sustainability goals and help consumers find products they can trust. UL Environment offers environmental claims validation, multi-attribute product certification, environmental product declarations, indoor air quality certification, product emissions testing, organizational sustainability certification, and consulting. For more information, visit www.ul.com/environment.
UL is a premier global safety science company with more than 100 years of proven history. Employing more than 7,000 professionals in over 100 countries, UL is evolving the future of safety with five distinct business units – Product Safety, Environment, Life & Health, Verification, and University – to meet the expanding needs of customers and the global public. For more information on UL services, visit www.ul.com.
(1) Referred to as CCD-172, an EcoLogo® standard, in Canada
SOURCE UL Environment