paper-weigher.jpgAmendment to the 400gsm rule published in the UK

Many of us have been waiting for confirmation that the long awaited amendment to the 400gsm paperboard rule has been published. The revised standard BS EN 71-1: 2011 + A3:2014 was finally published by BSI on 9th April.

Each individual EU member state has to publish the amendment the deadline for this is June 2014 set for all countries.  Thereafter the amended standard will get published in the Official Journal of the European Union and the timeframe for this to complete is October 2014. Once the amendment is published in the OJ it will have harmonised status  Compliance will then give a presumption of conformity to the essential safety requirements of the Toy Safety Directive 2009/48EC.

 In the meantime, your lab should be able to test to the revised BS standard on UK product if you ask them to - if you are selling European co-editions though, you may have a longer wait whilst each member state publishes the amendment and it makes its final passage to the OJ.

The significance of the amendment

Previously, anything over 400gsm was subject to a torque and tension test and if small parts were formed, was not permissible in books for the under 3's.
The new ruling states than any pieces of paperboard, irrespective of weight, will only be regarded as choking hazards/small parts if they fit completely within the small parts cylinder as received, ie: if the paperboard does not fit into a small parts cylinder, it is permissible at any weight and will not be subject to torque and tension testing.

Any small parts have to meet a tension test of 25 Newton and laminated paper board will still have to be tested.

The rationale for this is that corners, flaps and spines of board books, for example, become mushy when sucked and even if parts become detached the board has lost its mechanical strength and does not represent a significant choking hazard.   Therefore such paperboard toys / books will no longer be subject to torque and tension or any of the other use and abuse tests detailed in BS EN 71-1: 2011 + A3:2014 Clause 5. Toys intended for children under 36 months

A toy or book with board components (for example, press out coins / counters) which are small parts in their received state and do fit into the cylinder remain a choking hazard for the under 3s as they could be ingested or inhaled without previous wetting. 

In addition toys with attached small parts - for example a paperboard shape attached to a cord that can be placed in different pockets throughout the book would be subject to a 25 + 2 Newton tension test.
The ruling applies to unlaminated board and paper on the basis that polymeric laminations and thick coatings make the material resistant to wetting and increase the potential choking hazard as a result.