Limits for Preservatives in Toys

The EU Commission has published three changes to the toy safety Directive. The changes define limits for the following substances:

Formamide: 20 μg/m3 (emission limit) after a maximum of 28 days from the start of the emission tests for foam materials that contain more than 200 mg/kg (content-related threshold value)
The substance is present in a variety of toys made of foam, such as puzzle matting

Methylisothiazolinone (MI): 0.25 mg/kg (content limit value) in aqueous toy material

Chloroisothiazolinone (CMI): 0.75 mg/kg (content limit value) in aqueous toy material, and in a mixture MI/CMI 0.25 mg/kg (aqueous toy material) in aqueous toy material

MI und CMI are powerfully allergenic and are used in colors (model paints, finger-paint, and glass paints, adhesives, and soap bubbles)

Benzisothiazolinone (BIT): 5 mg/kg (content limit value) aqueous toy material

Like MI and CMI, BIT is used in water-based toys, such as model paints and finger-paint.

The changes take effect on December 13. Afterwards, the Directive is to be transposed into national law. It is valid for formamide and BIT by May 24, 2017; for MI, CMI, and MI/CMI by November 24, 2017.

If the new rules affect you, we are happy to offer advice and help. Contact us at

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