ASTM International Committee F15 on Consumer Products has addressed recent incidents of magnet ingestion resulting in death or serious injury in a major new revision to ASTM F 963, Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety. F 963 is under the jurisdiction of ASTM Subcommittee F15.22 on Toy Safety, a 150-person subcommittee comprised of manufacturers, retailers, safety consultants, consumers and representatives of testing laboratories, academic institutions and the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission.
In several cases, children have swallowed small magnets that were built into toys or were part of a building play set with small parts intended for older children. At least one child has died and others have been injured when swallowed magnets attracted across tissue within the child’s body causing intestinal twisting and perforation. The revision to F 963 requires that magnets and magnetic components be reliably contained within a toy or carry a warning describing the dangers posed by functional small ingestible magnets.
The new edition of F 963 was approved March 15, nine months after the initial establishment of the task group in June 2006. Katharine Morgan, general manager of technical committee support for ASTM International, noted that the subcommittee members recognized the urgency of the need and diligently worked together to develop the new safety requirements. Nine months of development time, given the complexity of the task in a full consensus environment, is evidence of the high priority that the various interest groups involved placed on finding a solution.
F 963 relates to possible hazards that may not be recognized readily by the public and that may be encountered in the normal use for which a toy is intended or after reasonably foreseeable abuse. The standard covers requirements and contains test methods for toys intended for use by children under 14 years of age.
In addition to the section addressing magnets, other recent revisions made to F 963 include the addition of safety requirements and test methods for yo-yo elastic tether toys; the addition of requirements related to cord, straps and elastics; and revisions to sections that address packaging film, age requirements as they pertain to use and abuse testing, and hemispheric shaped objects.
As with all ASTM standards, F 963 will continue to be maintained and revised as needed by Subcommittee F15.22. Interested parties are always welcome to participate.
Technical Information: Joan Lawrence, Toy Industry Association, Inc., New York, N.Y.
ASTM Staff: Katharine Morgan
June Committee Week