South Korea: Tighter Limits for Phthalates and Heavy Metals in Toys and Children’s Textiles

The South Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) has strengthened its common safety standards) (only in Korean) for a variety of children’s products, including toys and textiles. And new limits on phthalates took effect in South Korea on June 4.

In the future, companies must ensure that the total content of phthalates in the products does not exceed 0.1%. The rules affect the following phthalates: 

  • Di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) 
  • Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) 
  • Benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP) 
  • Diisononyl phthalate (DINP) 
  • Diisodecyl phthalate (DIDP) 
  • Di-n-octyl phthalate (DnOP) 

Stricter requirements will soon apply to migrations. The migration limit for formaldehyde in textiles that come into contact with the skin is set at 75 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg). For aromatic amines in dyed clothing components, the limit is set at 30 mg/kg.

In December of this year, additional restrictions apply to heavy metals and nitrosamines in children’s  

Manufacturers of paints, coatings, and paper must then prove that their products do not exceed the following maximum migration values for heavy metals: 

  •  Antimony – 60 mg/kg
  • Arsenic – 25 mg/kg
  • Barium – 1,000 mg/kg
  • Cadmium – 75 mg/kg
  • Chromium – 60 mg/kg
  • Lead – 90 mg/kg
  • Mercury – 60 mg/kg
  • Selenium – 500 mg/kg  

Restrictions were also placed on chemicals that can build carcinogenic nitrosamines, such as those broadly found in rubber products, including baby pacifiers, dental floss, and toothbrushes.

We have worked with our partners in South Korea for years. We can handle the preregistration and registration of chemicals and maintain the marketability of your products. If you import products into South Korea, please contact us at

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