Joseph Rinkevich, an entrepreneur and consultant with over 15 years experience working with manufacturers and retailers on environmental and sustainability strategy across many product categories, is co-founder of SciVera, a chemical safety assessment solution provider based in Charlottesville, Va. SciVera is active in the US and European toy industries helping manufacturers and their suppliers respond to new chemical requirements like those in the revised European Toy Safety Directive (2009/48/EC).
I recently had the opportunity to speak as part of the TIA/TIF educational sessions at Toy Fair. My presentation was a summary of the data requirements for new chemical regulation of toys in the US and Europe based on recent trends in these markets.
I hoped for a lively discussion and was not disappointed. Session attendees consisted of representatives from large and small toy manufacturers, retailers, and a few entrepreneurs. Several participants expressed surprise at the new requirements in Europe that took effect on July 20, 2011. Others seemed quite well informed about what documentation is now needed for compliance.
For those who have not had the opportunity to catch up on the recent changes in chemical safety data requirements for Europe and the US, here is a summary of three key developments:
- New regulations in US and Europe require significant business process changes for the toy supply chain;
- Companies now must gather much more detailed data from suppliers to validate safety of all chemicals in toy materials;
- Gathering and evaluating these product chemical data require scalable processes, automation, transparency, and scientific consistency.
Fortunately, the toy industry is well on its way to establishing a set of solutions that will enable reliable and cost-effective support for compliance with these new requirements. In a letter to members last fall, Carter Keithley, TIA president, provided an overview of the solutions available to the toy industry. The list included the Hong Kong Toy Council’s Chemical Management Database as well as our solution, SciVera Lens. These systems among others are helping the toy industry respond to the new European Toy Safety Directive as well as several new chemical requirements in the US.
While these changes present challenges to the toy industry and its supply chain, the new requirements are achievable and will ultimately help toy companies further validate and constantly improve the safety of toy products.
For more detailed information or links, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.