Title: IMEP-24 Analysis of Eight Trace Elements in Toys
Citation: TRAC-TRENDS IN ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY vol. 30 no. 2 p. 313-323
Publication Year: 2011
JRC N°: JRC59077
ISSN: 0165-9936
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC59077
DOI: 10.1016/j.trac.2010.09.007
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: The International Measurement Evaluation Program (IMEP) organized the IMEP-24 interlaboratory comparison after reports in the media about high levels of lead in toys. The aim of this comparison was to verify the laboratories' capacity to evaluate trace-element levels in a possible toy-like material according to the European Standard EN 71-3:1994. As test material, it used a former certified reference material containing levels of antimony, arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, mercury, lead and selenium around the limits set in the standard. Four expert laboratories confirmed the reference values (Xref) for all elements but Hg, and established a reference value for Hg. The scatter of the results reported by the participants was large, as expected, but showed a close to normal distribution around the reference values for five of the eight trace elements. The spread of results was mainly attributed to sampling and sample preparation. One major issue observed in this exercise was the lack of legislative rules about how to report the result, or, more specifically, the use of the analytical correction, which was introduced in EN 71-3:1994 to achieve consistent interpretation of results and which is to be applied when values are equal to or above the maximum limits set in the standard. Its application by the participants was very inconsistent and led to problems in their evaluation. There is clearly a need for clarification and for more formal regulations with regard to result reporting in order to minimize the risk of confusion. Participants were also asked to give their opinion with regard to the acceptability of the test material for the market. The majority correctly considered the material as non-compliant. However, almost one-third incorrectly assessed the material as compliant.
JRC Directorate:Health, Consumers and Reference Materials

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