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Review of chemicals related Toy Safety Policies and Regulations in selected Low and Middle Income Countries

With a total revenue of more than 90 billion USD in 2018, the global toy market is an important sector of consumer products. Like many other products, toys are composed of a diverse range of materials. Many of these materials are made of, or contain manufactured chemicals. Most of these chemicals are intentionally added, but some can also be present as unintended contaminants.

Many chemicals have properties that can make them hazardous to human health and/or the environment. The potential use of such chemicals in toys is especially concerning since children can be more vulnerable to health impacts of certain chemicals. Due to this, chemicals of concern in toys have been a longstanding priority for activities under SAICM. As part of these activities under SAICM, a current GEF funded project aims at accelerating the adoption of measures by value chain stakeholders, including governments, to track and to control chemicals in the supply chain of toys. It aims at engaging the toy manufacturing sector and policymakers to address chemicals of concern in toys and to strengthen toy safety around the world.

Given the special vulnerability of children to potential impacts, chemical use in toys is a relatively highly regulated area throughout the world. To obtain a baseline and starting point for further activities under SAICM and the GEF funded project, an overview analysis of toy safety policies addressing chemicals of concern in toys was conducted. The focus of the analysis was put on policies in low- and medium- income countries that are importing toys from China. The scope of the analysis was defined as toy safety policies explicitly addressing the use of chemicals in toy materials. Safety regulations solely addressing chemical toys, such as educational experimenting sets, or electronic toys were not considered. In addition, general chemical regulations or regulations addressing chemical related issues during production or waste disposal were not considered, although they may also hold certain relevance for the toy sector.

This report was prepared by UNEP under the Global Environment Facility (GEF) full sized project 9771: Global best practices on emerging chemical policy issues of concern under the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM). This project is funded by the GEF, implemented by UNEP and executed by the SAICM Secretariat. UNEP acknowledges the financial contribution of the Global Environment Facility for the development, editing and design of this report.