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Toxicological reference values for certain organic chemicals emitted from squishy toys with regard to adopting limit values under the Toy Safety Directive 2009/48/EC

Final Opinion


SCHEER WG on certain organic chemicals emitted from squishy toys
SCHEER members: Renate Krätke (Chair), Emanuela Testai (Rapporteur), Teresa Borges, Peter Hoet, Theodoros Samaras, Theo Vermeire
On request from: European Commission
Adopted on: 3 June 2021

Following a request from the European Commission, the Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks (SCHEER) reviewed two reports related to the use of squishy toys published by the Danish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Swedish Chemical Agency (KEMI). The SCHEER also reviewed the available data on the toxicity of eight organic compounds emitted by squishy toys, as indicated in the Terms of Reference, and derived their toxicological reference values taking into account different routes of exposure and the type of effects (e.g. local vs systemic) by using the weight of evidence approach, in accordance with the SCHEER Memorandum on weight of evidence and uncertainties. Based on realistic exposure scenarios where assumptions were made to mimick children sleeping or playing with squishy toys, SCHEER considered the short-term DNEL values of the emitted chemicals, rather than their TDIs or chronic DNEL values, to be sufficiently protective.

The SCHEER is of the opinion that limiting the risk assessment to the inhalation exposure is not adequate to assess the risk for the children playing with squishy toys. Besides inhalation, the oral route of exposure cannot be excluded, since children, in view of the appearance and smell of this type of toys, might bite or suck on the toys with the possibility of substances released into saliva. In addition, children can ingest parts of squishy toys when they put them into the mouth: besides the possibility of suffocation, occurring when the piece is large enough, the possibility exist that substances are released into the gastro-intestinal tract. Therefore, a risk assessment based on the migration data of chemical content in squishy toys should be considered. Regarding dermal exposure, experimentally measured data reported by the above-mentioned Swedish and Danish report for the compounds under assessment indicates no migration to sweat stimulant. For this reason, the dermal route was considered not relevant for these chemicals. However, the SCHEER is of the opinion that dermal exposure may be relevant for other chemicals, especially for fragrances and other chemicals with irritating or sensitising properties.

The SCHEER does not recommend to apply EU-LCI values as toxicological reference values for inhalation exposure to chemicals from toys in general, since they are derived for construction products on the basis of specific exposure scenarios, which may differ from those to be used when assessing health risks for children playing with toys.

For the eight chemicals, the SCHEER identifies, on the basis of a described general procedure, the related emission limits.


organic chemicals, squishy toys, Toy Safety Directive 2009/48/EC, chemicals in squishy toys

Opinion to be cited as:

SCHEER (Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks), Final opinion on toxicological reference values for certain organic chemicals emitted from squishy toys with regard to adopting limit values under the Toy Safety Directive 2009/48/EC, ‘Chemicals in squishy toys’, 3 June 2021


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