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Adoption of HDXRF by ASTM Toy Safety Subcommittee: Issue Brief

Executive Summary

The ASTM F15.22 Toy Safety Committee has published revisions to its U.S. Toy Safety Standard, F963-16, covering the safety of all toys sold in the United States. It is expected that the Consumer  product Safety Commission (CPSC) will soon adopt these changes into its mandatory toy safety standards. Key among the new changes is a provision allowing for the use of High Definition X-Ray fluorescence, or HDXRF, to measure the presence of toxic heavy metals in plastics in toys. This will make toy testing faster, less costly, and more flexible, thereby facilitating the testing of toys to ensure they do not contain lead or other toxic metals.

HDXRF Diagram

Issue Background

  • XOS, located near Albany, New York, is a leading global provider of mission-critical materials analysis equipment for industries and regulators for material compliance, quality control, and performance in a range of applications, from consumer products to petroleum industry applications. XOS pioneered the use of advanced X-ray optics, including HDXRF, in application-specific analyzers that accurately measure a range of heavy elements in a variety of media. What sets XOS analyzers apart from traditional XRF is the ability of HDXRF to reduce the background X-ray “noise” that causes interferences and a lack of sensitivity in other instruments. In fact, XOS instruments can often increase sensitivity by more than a factor of 100 over other technologies, enabling the user to precisely measure elements down to single digit parts-per million (ppm) in many cases. Thus, XOS instruments truly are “high definition” (HD) analyzers and represent the state-of-the art for many industries.
  • In the wake of the enactment of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA), XOS redesigned and refined its analyzers specifically for the consumer goods market. The result was instruments that can accurately and reliably measure lead and other metals at well below exacting U.S. regulatory levels for both surface coatings and substrates (like plastics) of consumer products. Indeed, XOS HDXRF instruments are currently the only XRF instruments capable of simultaneously measuring lead in both the surface coating and substrate of a product sample, down to a one millimeter area. Traditional XRF analyzers are not typically able to accurately differentiate between surface coatings and substrates, especially when there are very thin layers of paint, and therefore are inappropriate for paint/ surface coating analysis to the 90 parts-permillion (ppm) CPSIA limit. Traditional XRF is also significantly less effective for accurately measuring lead in various substrate materials at the regulatory limits.
  • HDXRF also has widely recognized advantages over both traditional “wet chemistry” testing, whereby product samples must be destroyed and dissolved in acid and then the solution run through large, expensive spectroscopic instruments in laboratory conditions. Specifically, HDXRF testing:
    • Does not destroy product samples
    • Is portable and may be conducted on-site (at a factory, warehouse, retail store, etc.)
    • Requires less time, equipment, materials, and personnel training
    • Is comparable in precision and reliability to wet chemistry testing and is therefore generally far more accurate and reliable than traditional XRF instruments/methods