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Completed Set of ASTM International Plastic Standards Support Safer Consumer Products


Today, ASTM International’s plastics committee (D20) announced the imminent completion of a suite of technical documents that aims to limit potentially harmful materials found in a wide range of consumer products.  These materials, known as phthalates, are man-made chemicals that make some plastics more flexible and harder to break.

Studies with rats and mice have found that high levels of some phthalates cause birth defects and impairment to fertility. 

In 2008, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act restricted the level of phthalates found in children’s toys and some child care products.

“Ortho-phthalates were becoming restricted or banned altogether, and the industry needed analytical methods to confidently test for them,” according to Dick Casali, an engineer at Intel’s product ecology lab and a D20 member.

In 2009, more than 20 members of the committee began developing the suite of documents. This includes:  

  • A test method to determine low-level, regulated phthalates in plastics by thermal desorption, which helps identify and quantify regulated phthalates (D7823);
  • A vinyl plasticizer library adjunct, which walks an analyst through the mass spectroscopy data interpretation to distinguish between differing, but structurally similar, compounds (ADJD7823S);
  • A guide for analyzing complex phthalates, which shows how to interpret and analyze data from a chromatographic analysis (D7993); and
  • A test method for determining low level, regulated phthalates in plastics by solvent extraction, which quantifies six phthalates by solvent extraction (soon to be published as D8133). 

Now that the suite is finalized, “the intent is for the committee on consumer products to include the phthalate suite in the ASTM International toy safety standard,” according to Alan Kaufman, senior vice president of technical affairs at The Toy Association. The toy safety standard (F963) is one of ASTM International’s most widely-recognized standards, developed by its consumer products committee (F15).

Testing laboratories, product manufacturers, raw material suppliers, and regulatory bodies will find this suite of standards most useful.

For more information about the suite of standards and the implications for consumer products, read this Standardization News article.

To purchase a standard, contact ASTM International’s customer relations (+1.877.909.ASTM or

Media Inquiries: Dan Bergels, tel +1.610.832.9602;
Committee Contact: Aly Fick, tel +1.610.832.9710;  



Release #10432

November 17, 2017

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